Unions in the UK, led by the TUC union federation, argued that the planned government cuts to jobs and spending would exacerbate the deficit crisis, as more people would be unemployed and there would be less revenue from income tax.
One of the main areas of concern for Nautilus members was the proposed changes to public sector pensions. The government made changes which would see members in the public sector work longer, receive less pay, pay more into their pensions and receive less on retirement. The campaign did achieve some successes and the government was forced to improve the pensions deal.
Members in the UK public sector also faced a number of years of pay freezes followed by annual pay increases of only 1% or 2% – effectively a pay cut when the cost of living has been around 3% since the start of the freeze.
In 2011 the government changed the way inflation was calculated from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which effectively reduced the value of pay even further.
The Union joined a number of campaigning events, including a massive demonstration in London in 2011 calling for the government to consider the alternatives to the cuts.
Whilst this particular campaign has now effectively ended, the Union and the TUC continue to fight for a better way through the deficit reduction programme. The current campaign is calling for Britain to have a pay rise now that the recession is over, to encourage people to start spending again and finally experience an increase in living standards after years of cuts.