Corbyn backs unions in fight for public sector pay rise

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Unions are pressing ahead with plans for industrial action and protests over public sector pay, buoyed by strong support from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Leaders of unions representing millions of workers expressed anger at a Government announcement of a 2% rise for the police and prison officers, branding it “divisive.”

Mr Corbyn won a standing ovation from the TUC Congress in Brighton after he voiced strong support for unions and their campaign for a decent pay rise for nurses, teachers, civil servants and other workers.

Mr Corbyn told the Press Association after his speech that unions were right to be sceptical about the Government announcement.

“Unions have a right to ballot their members on industrial action. Surely it is the role of the Government to respond to concern and anger,” he said.

Labour will lead a Commons debate on the public sector pay cap on Wednesday.

Mr Corbyn said he has a message for the DUP, which is helping the Conservatives retain a Commons majority.

“Are you really representing the people who elected you by denying people the pay rise they deserve,” he said.

Labour rejected the Government’s attempt to “divide and rule”, pledging that a Labour government would end the pay cap.

Unions representing civil servants, higher education staff and some prison officers are holding industrial action ballots, while the TUC is organising a national demonstration in October.