Date: 31 May 2012
Hume Institute’s report on public sector remuneration in Scotland
– UNISON response
UNISON, Scotland’s largest trade union, today responded to
the publication of the David Hume Institute’s paper ‘Public
Sector Remuneration in Scotland’.
The paper claims to ‘start the process of careful consideration
based on informed, rigorous and objective analysis’. However,
UNISON says the paper falls somewhat short of this objective.
The union criticised the report for repeating, uncritically,
many well worn neo-liberal economic myths about public sector
pay and the private sector. There is little acknowledgement
that most expenditure cuts in Scotland have been achieved by
cutting the real wages and jobs of public service workers who
did not cause the crisis.
There is also virtually no analysis of the importance of pay
– particularly the low paid – on local economies and the positive
role public policy in this area can play.
While the paper does include some objective analysis from contributors
like Alastair Hatchett of IDS, there is little effort at balance.
In addition to the one-sided economic perspective, there are
three papers by employers – including two predictable rants
from the CBI and IoD.
There is a veneer of balance in the excellent paper from the
STUC’s Stephen Boyd but there is no contribution from anyone
actually engaged in negotiating public sector remuneration in
Scotland, who could have corrected the many misconceptions and
reflected on current developments.
Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland’s Head of Bargaining and Campaigns,
said: “The report describes better pay for low paid workers
as an ‘overpayment’ and suggests staff are ‘overpaid’. This
is linked to the extraordinary and misleading claim that the
public sector ‘pay freeze’ does not apply to lower paid workers.
This will comes as something of a surprise to thousands of low
paid public service workers whose living standards are being
“While there is a case for considering how public sector remuneration
is developed – particularly in the context of constitutional
change – the David Hume Institute, with its right wing ideological
position, is not the body to offer an objective platform for
such a debate.”
Notes for editors:
For more information contact: UNISON’s Scottish Organiser Dave
Watson on 07958 122 409 UNISON’s communications officer Trisha
Hamilton on 0141 342 2877 / 07939 478 461.