Rob Dellow of the Hampshire Fire Brigade Union (FBU) speaks about the impact of austerity on public sector workers and services at Saturday’s rally and march in Portsmouth calling for the removal of the public sector pay cap. A full transcript of Rob Dellow’s speech follows the video.
@RobDellow788 speaking at today's #scrapthecap rally in #Portsmouth for @fbunational & @HampshireFBU
Posted by Hampshire Fire Brigade Union on Saturday, 22 July 2017
I am proud to speak to you today on behalf of the FBU. It is great to see such overwhelming support for our fellow public sector workers here today – a public sector oppressed by 7 years of austerity; austerity that has held our fellow public sector workers under a pay cap that has literally wound back the clock in terms of both wages and living standards.
Tragically, it is all to often we now hear of trained professionals within this sector now having to rely on food banks and family to help support their own. Many now resort to second and third jobs just to make ends meet. For many the pressures have got too great, breaking up families and in the worst case scenario ending lives. We see our public sector professionals reluctantly leaving their trade in droves, seeking alternative employment that pays better than the career they felt so passionately about.
Let’s not forget the sacrifices these people have made. Many training for years only to be undermined by the way their government treats them.
I referred to winding back the clock. If we do that, just for a second, I’m sure no one here will remember the day the public sector caused the economic crash, or recklessly gambled with stocks, shares and loans. Yet today we are still paying the price for the mistakes of others. The FBU adopted a slogan from our Spanish comrades when they were asked to evict families from their homes during the early days of the 2007/2008 economic crisis. They refused and said:- “we save people not banks”
We as a public sector have professionally continued to save people and through our pay cap have also saved banks.
The pay cap has now gone on for far too long. Austerity has not worked, our economy is no better, in fact our national debt has grown. Our communities are no safer as services are slashed and we see our professionals leave for better pay elsewhere. A mass loss of skills, expertise and worse still, experience; all of which cannot be replaced overnight, if at all.
During the debate of the Queen’s speech an amendment was put forward, a glimmer of hope to all of us, to release public sector workers from the pay cap. Unfortunately it was not successful. The Tories, with their newly bought supporters, voted against us.
A nurse was recently told that there is no magic money tree. Well Theresa May had no problems finding this mystical tree when it came to staying in power. Hand picking 1 billion of its finest leaves without a single thought for the rest of us. Spending solely for the purpose of vanity. Vanity that cost her party a majority and the people of the UK more. Her MPs losing seats left, right and Kensington to other political parties.
MPs that had shamelessly and even enthusiastically accepted their very own 11% pay rise, reminding us that “we are not all in it together”. Worse still, those MPs left in seats overturned this amendment then cheered, clapped and laughed at their success. How detached they have become from their purpose.
The government’s role is to support society and we are that society! Without us there is no health care, no police, no fire and no council services. The time has come to save our public sector and reward those that selflessly devote their careers to help others: those that really do work for the people!
This government and its figurehead Theresa May are on the ropes, the alternative has momentum and we must build on this momentum to ensure change. We can see that change right here today before us, in the face of newly elected MP Stephen Morgan, the first ever Labour MP in Portsmouth South.
That change must inspire us, must motivate us. We must keep going. We need to stand together, rally, write and lobby until this government relents and releases our beloved police, teachers, nurses, firefighters and fellow public sector workers from an unnecessary and long suffered pay cap.
Furthermore we must keep going, keep up the pressure, fighting until we make sure this government serves the many and not the few.
Image by Editor5807 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Video by Gary Jackson, via Hants FBU Facebook page.