MORE than 30,000 civil servants in Scotland will face further real-term cuts to their income as Chancellor George Osborne holds pay increases at 1%.
Those working for the UK Government north of the Border, including staff employed by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Defence, the DVLA and UK Border Agency, will be affected.
Senior civil service staff employed by the Scottish Government will also be impacted by the further squeeze on spending power, which comes as inflation runs at 2.8%.
Mr Osborne confirmed the pay position in the House of Commons as thousands of members of the PCS union in Scotland walked out in protest over deteriorating working conditions.
Job centres, ports, airports and museums were all hit by the action.
Unions claim staff are moving into the fifth year of pay austerity under the Coalition Government, with workers also losing out as a result of the continuing suspension of the standard pay progression system to reward long service and experience gained.
Responding to Mr Osborne's Budget, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Far from being an 'aspiration nation' Budget, as the Chancellor fatuously called it, it heralds the latest attack on our members who are really struggling financially and yet this Government chooses to heap more misery on them. The Chancellor is sticking rigidly to a plan that penalises public sector workers and runs down the economy."
The union added that progression pay was a contractual process and should not be considered as a pay rise.
PCS also said the move to the single-tier pension a year earlier than planned will see civil servants pay £300 more a year in National Insurance contributions.
Teachers, local authority staff and those employed by the NHS north of the Border will not be affected by the 1% rise in pay.
However, remuneration policy at the Scottish Government also carries a 1% cap on pay increases in basic pay for staff earning under £80,000, with a pay freeze in place for staff earning £80,000 and above. A spokesman said it has no current plans to change the pay policy.
Yesterday's strike saw the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh close, as well as DVLA offices across the country. Service at Hamilton and Airdrie job centres was seriously affected.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said Mr Osborne's offer on public sector pay went against the Chancellor's own notion of an "aspiration nation".
Mr Prentis said: "The Chancellor is clearly bankrupt of ideas. His bleak austerity agenda and fiscal inertia is leading to stagnation, robbing the country of the Government's prized AAA rating and tipping it towards a triple-dip recession.
"Attacking public services is the Chancellor's default setting. Osborne talks about supporting people with aspirations but does exactly the opposite. On top of the three-year public service pay freeze, workers will now have their pay pegged to 1% until 2015/16. What does that say about giving people aspirations?
"Osborne can't dig the country out of the hole he has made – more cuts are not the answer to revitalising the economy."
Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary, said the Budget – the fourth presented by Mr Osborne – was "wholly insufficient" to get the economy moving.
He said: "There was nothing of value in this Budget to address the living standards crisis. Consistently focusing on raising the tax threshold is not a credible way of addressing inequality and falling real incomes.
"This expensive measure ignores the very poorest who don't pay tax and benefits most those in the upper half of the income distribution."
Green party co-leader Patrick Harvie said: "SNP ministers have imposed a further real-terms pay cut which, along with increased pension contributions, means yet further raids on the pockets of people working to deliver the public services we all depend on.
"The Scottish Government likes to blame the UK Coalition but the truth is we have the power in Scotland to end this unfair squeeze."
Elaine Smith, Labour MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, said the strike by the PCS union was "particularly pertinent on the day George Osborne will outline more austerity measures that will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer".
She said: "The Labour and trade union movement has fought for decades for the rights of workers, and we should not now allow current Westminster and Holyrood governments to take those rights away."
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