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Public sector pay rises in Britain despite recession: Report

Last Updated: Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 16:58

London: Public sector employees in Britain are enjoying bigger pay rises, working fewer hours and receiving pensions worth up to three times than those of in the private sector, says media report.

"Public sector workers earn seven per cent more on average than their peers in the private sector, a pay gulf that has more than doubled since the recession began," the Sunday Times said.

The daily further said that civil servants, National Health Service staff, council officials and other public sector workers have enjoyed a "golden age" under Labour.

Citing figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the report said average annual earnings of public sector workers rose to 22,405 pound last year, compared with 20,988 pound paid to the average private sector worker.

As per the report, public sector wages are rising at 2.8 per cent, compared with 1.1 per cent in the private sector.

By a whole range of measures, public sector employees are also enjoying better working conditions, despite a decline in productivity. Besides, the average state employee also enjoys three or four more days of holiday a year.

According to the ONS, public sector productivity fell by 3.4 per cent in the 10 years from 1997, compared with a rise of 28 per cent in the private sector over the same period. Besides, civil servants also enjoy better pension cover.

Quoting David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, the Sunday Times said "the days when public sector workers received lower salaries in return for better pensions and more job security were `long gone`."

A spokesman for the Treasury told the paper that the government`s pay policies reflected the need to recruit and retain staff, but still delivered value for the taxpayer.

He said the higher average pay of civil servants was partly because many cleaning jobs and other low-paid public sector work had been outsourced to the private sector.

Not only are public sector workers better rewarded, but they also take more time off work through illness. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, state workers average 9.7 days of sick leave a year, compared with 6.4 days in the private sector, the report said.

The generous pay and perks offered by state employers is encouraging more graduates to favour working in the public sector, the Sunday Times added.


First Published: Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 16:58
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