Shameful pay freeze is an insult to key workers | Letters

Freezing public sector wages is an attack on those already hardest hit by the pandemic, writes Marion Doherty. Plus letters from Alan Millington, Pete Dorey and Gary Bennett

Why does the Guardian (New UK spending row as Rishi Sunak puts squeeze on public sector salaries, 20 November) continue to use “squeeze”, “restraint” and “belt-tightening” to describe what are vicious cuts to the wealth and health of working people? These cuts will disproportionately fall on women, BAME people, lone parents and the most economically deprived parts of the country. Using such language normalises the significant attacks by this government.

Such an attack is not just aimed at the public sector, but at depressing wages for all workers. With rising poverty, inequality and the hypocrisy of the government’s levelling-up rhetoric, the Guardian needs to tell it like it is. With shareholder dividends being thrown around, who should pay for the crisis is not a difficult question. The answer is not workers.
Marion Doherty
Swinton, Manchester

• Public service workers should be proud to sacrifice future pay rises to ensure that the government can afford to continue outsourcing government services to organisations whose overpricing and incompetence are legendary. Surely the NHS heroes can understand the need to protect the nation from political extremists who would undermine our traditional values by putting public good before private profit.
Alan Millington
Beverley, East Yorkshire

• The Centre for Policy Studies, a rightwing thinktank, suggests that the Treasury could save £23bn by imposing a three-year public sector pay freeze (Rishi Sunak says public sector pay freeze is not a return to austerity, 22 November). I wonder how much the Treasury could accrue by ceasing to award lucrative contracts to the Tories’ private sector mates, or by seriously tackling corporate tax evasion?
Pete Dorey
Bath, Somerset

• I experienced four, perhaps five, years of zero or 1% pay increases for public sector workers under George Osborne’s austerity measures. And it is obvious that Rishi Sunak is playing the same game in applying a possible public sector pay freeze for three years. It is nothing other than more of the same, regardless of Sunak’s claims to the contrary.
Gary Bennett


The GuardianTramp

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