Responding to the Labour party’s suggestions that public service workers should accept more pay freezes and pay cuts, UNISON’s General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
“Our members needed hope and a reason to vote Labour. They have been snatched away. In the past year Labour has struggled to get its message across to show that there is an alternative to the Coalition’s savage cuts in our public services and the attack on the living standards of millions of ordinary working people.
“We were told by Ed Miliband to be patient, to prepare for the the long haul and that their economic plans needed to be cautious. And we hoped that, as the economy worsened, Labour’s voice would get louder, more forceful and that Ed Miliband would step up and speak out against the tearing apart of communities and families as they face insecurity and uncertainty.
“But at a time when our members needed him most, he panicked and fell into the trap, ditching overnight a policy that challenged the Coalition. He has decided to embrace a Tory pay policy that hits millions of public service workers, particularly low paid women – care workers, hospital cleaners and dinner ladies, who have already had two years of pay freezes and job losses.
“Ed Miliband’s naivety is breathtaking and his ill-thought-through comments will have unintended consequences. At a time when hard working families are struggling to make ends meet, the very party which they look to to stand by them, has chosen instead to play cheap politics with their lives.”