CONTROVERSIAL proposals to introduce regional pay differentials could hit the wallets and purses of thousands of public sector workers in south east Northumberland, claims a local MP.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley has been advocating the break up of national wage structures for NHS workers by introducing different levels of pay across the country.
But Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said the proposals are flawed and would reduce the take-home pay of workers in the north east.
“The introduction of regional pay levels would seriously damage our valued public services as well as having a devastating affect on our local and regional economy,” he said.
“There are thousands in my constituency employed not only in the NHS but right across the public sector including in local government and education, and any tinkering with nationally negotiated wage structures must be resisted.”
Mr Lavery said regional pay would make it harder to control costs as well as reinforcing the north-south divide and threatening instability in the NHS by risking the poaching of staff to better paid areas.
“It would make it harder to encourage the very best staff, doctors and nurses to lower paid jobs in areas where the health challenge is often at its greatest,” he added.
“We rely very heavily on the public sector not only the NHS but in local government and education as well, for employment opportunities in this area, but sadly many jobs are already under threat because of cut-backs in spending plans.”
“Adopting regional pay policies would fly in the face of equal pay for equal work.”