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Alistair Darling threatens pay freeze for public sector workers

At a time when public sector expenditure is very much in the headlines, Alistair Darling has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons with a refusal to rule out a public sector pay freeze in the short term. This is despite the UK government's insistence that investment into the public sector will continue well into the future and not be impacted in the short term by the ever growing national debt in the UK. So what exactly is going on?

As with most pay reviews, the level of enumeration for public sector workers is linked to the rate of inflation over a predefined period. When you consider that the UK economy has been in recession for some time, inflation has collapsed and job losses in the private sector continue to rise, surely the public sector needs to take its share of the burden?

While this would seem sensible to many people, the UK unions have let it be known that if the remuneration packages of public sector workers are frozen then we could see large scale strike action over the coming weeks and months. Even though Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have yet to confirm a potential pay freeze for the public sector it is known that the audit commission chief executive Steve Bundred has recommended that the UK government looks to shave around £5 billion from the ongoing cost of running public sector services. We really could see a summer, autumn and winter of discontent!

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