Letters: Welcoming the Public Sector Pay Rise

Dear Orkney News,

Whilst I appreciate my own bias (both politically and in terms of my employment), I wish to thank the Scottish Green Party for securing a £800 pay rise (per annum, pro rata) for most public sector workers in Scotland in the recently agreed Scottish Budget. 

I fully appreciate that there are many more issues involved when it comes to pay awards for public sector workers, but what I particularly want to focus on in this letter is the refreshingly different nature of this deal: this is an absolute pay rise of a fixed amount (rather than the usual proportional one based on a percentage of current pay – such as the 1% recently offered to the NHS by the Westminster ‘government’).

This £800 pay rise is designed to specifically benefit public sector workers on lower wages (I include myself as one of those), whose salary is less than £27,000. The pay rise is reduced for those who earn more, thus ultimately making it more affordable. To get this in perspective, for a worker employed at an ‘entry level’ grade at OIC, for example grade 3 on about £17,000, this represents a pay rise of around 4.5%.

I have a background as an active trade unionist and realised decades ago that constantly fighting for pay rises that are based on a percentage of current pay only results in greater income disparity. We only have to look at society and the environment to deduce that the more disparity there is in income, the more problems occur.

This is a radically different pay deal, rewarding those who need it most, and I whole-heartedly applaud it. Bravo Scottish Greens!

Yours, Helen Woodsford-Dean, Co-convenor Orkney Greens

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