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The GMB union responded angrily to statements by Gordon Brown about public service workers' pay and the need for re...
The GMB union responded angrily to statements by Gordon Brown about public service workers' pay and the need for reform.

National secretary for public services Brian Strutton said:

'He's been a great chancellor but I don't really think he understands public services. The more Mr Brown talks about keeping down public sector pay the more he demotivates and demoralises the very workers who need to be encouraged to embrace reform to deliver service improvement. These are, after all, some of the lowest paid workers in the economy. Their commitment to public service reform is essential and Mr Brown is just turning them off. He talks of breaking up national bargaining - he trundles this old chestnut out every now and then but it goes nowhere because all independent studies show that national pay bargaining is very efficient.'

Mr Strutton also went on to describe the positive work on public service reform being done: 'The TUC and the public sector unions do a lot of collaborative work with government to promote public service improvement and we've just jointly launched a new toolkit, called Drivers for Change, to take this further. The trade unions have also supported extensive reform in the NHS and in education as Mr Brown should know.'

Mr Strutton also commented on today's meeting on public service reform being hosted by Tony Blair said, 'I can't understand why representatives of the workforce are not invited - who, after all, is actually going to deliver better public services? It's not the politicians or the managers or the consultants - it's the ordinary employees, the road sweepers, the hospital porters, the teaching assistants alongside the doctors and nurses and teachers. If Tony Blair and Gordon Brown do not grasp this fundamental truth they will actually hinder rather than help the process of reform.'

Chancellor's speech


The future of public services will be underpinned by properly rewarded and respected public sector workers according to the Transport and General Workers Union.

Commenting on various speeches made today on the subject, general secretary Tony Woodley said it should be a cause for concern for Labour that the arguments continued and voters deserted the government.

'After two terms of privatisation policies of the public services, the government should rethink a policy that is unpopular, hasn't worked and hasn't provided the quality public services people expect from a Labour government,' he said. 'People want good local facilities and the freedom for those they trust - the health professionals, not the City - to be allowed to get on and do their jobs.

'Public services rely on the army of mainly low paid support workers, as well as the professionals, who have a sense of commitment and vocation that is all too often taken for granted,' continued Mr. Woodley. In respectof improving services he said the government should listen to those at the sharp end, the public sector workers themselves, rather than self-appointed experts from the private sector whose commitment was to their shareholders before the public.

The union also said Gordon Brown's call for pay restraint should be seen in the context of the key role played by public sector workers.

'The future of our public services depends on properly rewarding and valuing the public sector workers who deliver them,' added Mr Woodley. 'Renewing those public services must include investment in pay and pensions to public sector workers are, in the main, low paid workers.'

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