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Public sector pay in the UK: has the historic pattern of public/private sector pay movements been broken?

Public sector pay in the UK: has the historic pattern of public/private sector pay movements been broken?

White, Geoffrey and Farnham, David (2008) Public sector pay in the UK: has the historic pattern of public/private sector pay movements been broken? In: International Employment Relations Association 16th Annual Conference (IERA 2008), 'Diversity and New Employment Relations', 30 Jun - 1 Jul 2008, Nijmegen, Netherlands. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The historic pattern of public sector pay movements in the UK has been counter-cyclical with private sector pay growth. Periods of relative decline in public sector pay against private sector movements have been followed by periods of ‘catch-up’ as Government controls are eased to remedy skill shortages or deal with industrial unrest among public servants. Public sector ‘catch up’ increases have therefore come at awkward times for Government, often coinciding with economic downturn in the private sector (Trinder 1994, White 1996, Bach 2002). Several such epochs of public sector pay policy can be identified since the 1970s. The question is whether the current limits on public sector pay being imposed by the UK Government fit this historic pattern or whether the pattern has been broken and, if so, how and why?

This paper takes a historical approach in considering the context to public sector pay determination in the UK. In particular the paper seeks to review the period since Labour came into office (White and Hatchett 2003) and the various pay ‘modernisation’ exercises that have been in process over the last decade (White 2004). The paper draws on national statistics on public sector employment and pay levels to chart changes in public sector pay policy and draws on secondary literature to consider both Government policy intentions and the impact of these policies for public servants.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: [1] This paper was first presented at the International Employment Relations Association 16th Annual Conference (IERA 2008), 'Diversity and New Employment Relations' held from 30 June - 1 July 2008in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Uncontrolled Keywords: remuneration, public/private
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Faculty of Business > Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU)
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:07
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/2755

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