They say we all like evidence that supports our own beliefs, so here for me was a cracker this morning.

On today’s Today (if you see what I mean.  If you don’t, it’s BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme) up pops Ken Mulkearn of IDS (Income Data Services) with this:

Private sector pay increases could rise to 3% in the coming year…in the public sector if you happen to have the misfortune to work there you face an even bleaker picture because of course the government’s pay freeze is now kicking in for most employees in the public sector and the figures we’ve collected there show an average pay rise of just 0.75% …in terms of inflation that’s a severe squeeze…and if pension contributions in the public sectors go up as they may well do then workers there probably face a …triple whammy…low pay rises or pay freezes compared to high inflation and increased contributions to pension schemes

Add to that the impact of major job losses and that phrase if you happen to have the misfortune to work there becomes doubly poignant.

How this all contrasts with the “feather-bedded public sector” beloved of the media even a short year or so ago.

Back in June 2010 I wrote about public sector pay:

..like other aspects of the economy these things work in cycles.

It’s just that the cycles don’t move in the same direction at the same time.

  • Economy booms, private sector pay rates increase.  Public sector pay falls behind
  • To get and keep workers, public sector pay improves
  • Economy falters, private sector sheds workers (which it does much more easily than the public sector) and pegs pay rates
  • Public outrage at perceived higher public sector pay – economic downturn drives public sector pay down
  • Economy recovers…

And so on in a perpetual opposing dance.

As in so much else collective amnesia affects politicians, business people and the media

Yes, we all like evidence that supports our own beliefs.

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