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Fat-cat chiefs are too close to Blair

The news that Gordon Brown is attempting to limit public-sector pay rises to 2 per cent ("Pay rises under threat", TES, December 2) is not a surprise. However, will the paid officials of the public-service unions who negotiate with employers also be willing to accept the same constraints?

Last year's negotiations, for example, resulted in a pathetic 2.5 per cent rise for teachers, while the top union officials in the teacher unions got a 30 per cent rise in pay. The TES published the figures.

I believe the union bosses have got too close to the Blair government and like ministers, think they are a cut above the people they represent and who pay their inflated salaries.

Despite published figures union membership has declined, particularly in the education sector. Could this be as a result of disillusionment with the negotiating skills of union bosses?

After all, when union subscriptions cost more than your pay rise what's the point of being in a union? You can just take out a personal insurance policy and save your subscription fees.

It will be interesting to observe the negotiations this year.

Sabre-rattling has begun but, like last year, I believe it is just a sham.

Tony Callaghan

57 Portland Street, Norwich

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