Britain’s vital public-sector workers are going hungry and without heat. The Tories can’t ignore their pleas anymore
PRISON OFFICERS have been forced to “live like pensioners” and choose between heating and eating — thanks to the public-sector pay cap.
Public-sector workers from a range of professions were joined by TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady yesterday as they demonstrated outside Parliament for a fair pay increase.
Since the Tories took power in 2010, public-sector wage rises have faced a 1 per cent cap, meaning hundreds of thousands of state employees have seen their pay packets plummet by thousands of pounds in real terms — despite Chancellor Philip Hammond brazenly claiming last week they were “overpaid.”
New analysis by the TUC shows that prison officers’ salaries have seen a real-terms cut of up to £5,731.
Bill Buparai, a guard at Belmarsh prison, told the Star: “I’ve had to not put my heating on during the winter.
“In effect, I’m living like a pensioner. I’ve had to change the way I eat … I’ve had to try to eat cheaper, where possible.
“I’ve made changes to the way in which I move, commute — I walk a lot more now. I have to set off a lot earlier, just so I don’t have to pay the extortionate costs associated with general living.”
Hazel Cheung, a dietician based at the Royal Hospital in Liverpool, said: “The cost of living is continuing to rise, especially food and utilities.
“I’m spending a significant amount of my salary on food and utility bills.
“That’s absolutely not something I’ve felt before working for the NHS. If I was to go to the private sector, and even do freelance dietetics, I would be paid significantly more.