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Date: Thu 16 October 2014

Public sector living through 'lost decade’ - UNISON Scotland

In a damning report ‘Austerity economics don’t add up’, released today, UNISON say public sector pay, conditions and morale are at a record low, calling it the public sector’s lost decade.

The report shows that:

  • Wage growth is at record low and forecast at 1.25% . Real average earnings aren’t expected to return to their 2009-10 levels until 2018-19.
  • Between 2008-2014, inflation rose by 19% and the minimum cost of living by 27-28% when wages grew by only 9%.
  • 50,000 public service jobs have been lost, the highest proportion from local government, with a further 60,000 forecast to go.
  • 100,000 more children could be pushed into poverty by 2020

Lilian Macer, UNISON Scotland convener said:

"A workforce that cares cures and educates should be celebrated as an achievement, not constantly under attack as a drain on resources.

"The cleaners, classroom assistants, chefs, nursery workers, nurses, planners, social workers, meat inspectors, care workers and the many other members we represent do vital jobs that support and protect us all.

"They are worth and deserve decent pay and conditions.

"We all deserve to live in a society that puts people first, where the economy is run for everyone, not just the well off”

Dave Watson, UNISON head of bargaining and campaigns said:

"We need to start seeing money spent on public sector workers as an investment not a cost.

"A one per cent increase in public sector pay would generate up to £820 million in increased income tax, National Insurance contributions and expenditure tax receipts, as well as reduced benefit and tax credit expenditure.

"It would also inject £460 to £880 million of extra value into the economy and create jobs."




Notes for editors


  1. UNISON is the biggest trade union in Scotland. Our members are taking part in the STUC's 'A Just Scotland March and Rally for Decent work, dignified lives' in Glasgow on Saturday 18 October.


  2. UNISON Scotland report 'Austerity economics don’t add up' can be read here:



For further information please contact:

  • Danny Phillips, UNISON communications officer:  0141 342 2877, 07944 664 110
  • Dave Watson, UNISON head of bargaining and campaigns: 0141 342 2840, 07958 122 409