Wednesday, 6 July 2011

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, warned today that direct comparisons of average rates of private and public sector pay were meaningless, and should not be used as a stick to beat public sector workers with, or to divide workers in the public and private sectors.

Average comparisons are meaningless because a higher proportion of public sector jobs are skilled - in 2010, 38% of public sector workers had a degree or equivalent, compared with 23% in the private sector.

Outsourcing of the lowest paid public service jobs into the private sector, as well as the fact that there are also millions more workers in the private sector, employed across a much wider spread of wages – skews the figures even more.

More tellingly, ONS research today revealed that a comparison of employees with a degree or equivalent in both sectors – a fairer and more direct assessment – shows that those in the public sector earned 5.7% less than those with the same level of qualification working in the private sector.

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