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UK - Public sector workers prefer pay cut to pension cut

05 August 2011

Public sector workers are desperately holding onto their pension packages in the face of ever decreasing morale levels, according to a new study by leading recruitment consultants, Badenoch & Clark.
 
The outrage expressed at last Thursday's announcement that public sector pension contributions will likely rise substantially from next April, is demonstrative of a prevailing mood across the public sector. With the future of public sector pensions threatened by government reform, nearly half (44.9%) of all public workers said that they would rather their pay were cut than their pension. In advance of last month's strikes, over half (53.8%) said that they firmly believed that their benefits were worth striking over.
 
The research revealed that public sector workers are staunch supporters of their workplace benefits, in spite of cuts and redundancies. The study of over 1,000 public sector workers revealed that a quarter (25%) of senior public sector decision makers, and a third (33.3%) of London-based workers do not believe that private sector benefits packages match up to those of the public sector. A fifth (19.2%) of workers based in Scotland believed that public sector pay should be better than private sector remuneration.
 
Nonetheless, the great public sector pay debate continues. One third of public sector workers believe that they should be paid more than they currently are, with a further two in five (40%) going as far as to suggest that public sector pay should be equal with that of the private sector. Revised pay and pensions packages could be just one of the issues therefore required for uplifting morale, which remains low. Three quarters (73.3%) of those recently surveyed rated morale average to poor.
 
Nicola Linkleter, Managing Director at Badenoch & Clark, commented "the public sector remains in a state of crisis. With morale low, further cuts looming, and pension contributions set to rise exponentially, managers must continue to ensure that workers understand the future direction and opportunities within the sector. The need for careful, grassroots change management is absolute."
 
"Leaders must now reassert the public sector brand more than ever before. Workers will remain loyal to their employer so long as they perceive that they employer is committed to its workforce. This commitment must include clarity on pension reform. Lack of transparency will further damage morale, and could lead to further strikes."
 
"Come October, a year on from Osborne's initial Comprehensive Spending Review, it will be important to observe how, if at all, the public sector has repositioned itself, internally and externally."

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