Unions clash with the Chancellor over wages

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Indy Politics

The government faces a damaging confrontation with trade unions during the conference season this autumn unless Gordon Brown backs down in a row over public-sector pay.

The government faces a damaging confrontation with trade unions during the conference season this autumn unless Gordon Brown backs down in a row over public-sector pay.

Union leaders are preparing to challenge the Chancellor over his reluctance to commit himself to greater increases in pay for public-sector workers.

The clash was set off by a report showing the pay of Britain's business tycoons rose by 16.5 per cent last year, four times the average wage increase.

John Edmonds, leader of the GMB general union, warned Mr Brown yesterday that unions were demanding extra pay in light of the findings. "If company directors are to be awarded annual lottery wins to ensure Britain's boardrooms remain the best, so be it," he said.

"Presumably, the Government is extending that principle to the public sector to ensure it remains the best, with the best nurses, best police officers and best doctors."

The Chancellor is the only cabinet minister to address the annual TUC conference this year. But he has already warned public-sector workers that July's spending review will not mean an automatic boost for pay awards and they can expect only "affordable pay rises".

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