Union submits pay freeze motion

Labour will be urged to condemn the pay freeze affecting public sector workers at its annual conference next week even though the shadow chancellor has spoken out in support of wage restraint.

Ed Balls was heckled at the Trades Union Congress earlier this month when he said that pay was not the first priority when jobs were being lost under the Government's spending cuts.

Unison has submitted a motion to Labour's annual gathering in Manchester which attacks the public sector pay freeze and complains that a £250 increase for lower paid workers, announced by Chancellor George Osborne, had only been paid to a minority of employees.

It reads: "Conference condemns the prolonged pay freezes that mean public sector workers have had their real terms pay cut dramatically and notes that most of the lowest paid have not received the £250 rise that Osborne promised.

"Conference believes that depressing workers' living standards in a recession is self-defeating and contributes to economic stagnation."

Mr Balls, and Labour leader Ed Miliband, were criticised by unions earlier this year when they voiced their support for pay restraint in the public sector.

Unison will call on delegates next week to promote fair pay and living wage campaigns.

The GMB union will urge Labour to set up a commission to "redress the balance" on workers' rights, saying that "hard won" gains had been dismantled by the coalition.

The GMB will argue that the UK already has the weakest employment laws in Europe, but the Government was planning further "attacks" on workers and trade unions.