Hundreds to march in Norwich’s streets in protest over public sector pay

Sarah Lark, president of the Norwich and District Trade Union Council. Picture: Denise Bradley

Sarah Lark, president of the Norwich and District Trade Union Council. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Hundreds of people are to march through the streets of Norwich this weekend demanding the living wage and a 5pc increase for public sector workers.

The government signalled that the pay freeze for public sector workers could come to an end next year, after agreeing a controversial increase for police and prison officers.

Downing Street last month announced the 1pc annual pay cap would be lifted for police officers and prison officers and committed to wider 'flexibility' for all public sector workers from next year.

And on Saturday, workers in Norwich will be staging a protest as they call for the government to lift the cap on other public sector workers, such as teachers and nurses.

The Norwich and District Trades Council is coordinating the action across trade unions in the region. President Sarah Lark said:

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'The government is on the back foot as millions of workers have suffered under the pay freeze over the last seven years.

'We recently supported McDonald's workers who took strike action over low pay, which particularly affected young people in the food industry.

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'We do not agree with the government's policy of breaking the pay cap for certain groups of workers, and not others. We all need a pay rise.'

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis will be among the speakers at the event, which starts with a rally at midday outside City Hall before a march at 12.45pm and further speeches at City Hall at 1.15pm.

Mr Lewis said: 'It doesn't matter whether you're a public sector employee or not. This is a campaign day where Norwich, as a community, has the chance to publicly stand with the people that care for our elderly, look after us when we're sick, teach our children, protect our communities and so many other things we so often take for granted.'

The pay award for police officers proved controversial. Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey said his officers deserved the increase, but warned police numbers in the county would have to be cut so officers can be paid more, with no new money from the government to cover the increase.

And Norfolk County Council, which is looking to make £125m of savings by 2022, said if the pay cap is relaxed it could have to make even more savings - assuming no extra government money.

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