Tom Blenkinsop MP Speaks Out in Commons Against Pay ‘Dash to the Bottom’

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, used a House of Commons debate on Tuesday (10th January 2012) to speak out against possible government plans to try and break up central national pay bargaining for public sector workers.

Tom said “For some time now the government have been looking at trying to ‘regionalise’ public sector pay. This is nothing more or less than an attempt to start a drive to push for worse wages and conditions in areas like Teesside.

It would be an expensive and bureaucratic nightmare. Imagine every secondary or primary school in England and Wales suddenly becoming a separate bargaining unit! All this would do is to take the head teacher and governors away from teaching and management, and force them to become pay bargainers.

It would also reinforce and entrench the existing regional divide. How would lower pay in – say – the North East or on Teesside boost the local economy? All it would do would be to reduce local purchasing power and by that reduce employment in the private retail, service and manufacturing sector.

In the debate I also highlighted the fact that many public service workers work across boundaries. The most visible example of that in recent months was the deployment of officers from the Cleveland Police to London and other cities as back up in the recent riots there. Can you imagine the views of bobbies if they were expected to undertake such dangerous and hazardous work on lower wages than their fellow bobbies next to them?

The Coalition dreams of regionalisation of public sector pay are, in fact a nightmare. I and my fellow Labour MP’s will back all public service workers in standing up against these crazy proposals.”

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