Millions of public sector workers have been awarded wage increases of between 4 and 5 percent unions prepare for strikes on hikes well below inflation.
Around 2.5 million public sector workers across the UK will see a pay rise after the government accepted “fair and sustainable” increases recommended by the review bodies.
However, the unions said they would now elect members to industrial disputes as the “clench in the teeth” agreements will not keep pace with rising inflation – currently at 9.1 per cent.
Most full-time nurses in the NHS only gets a 4 percent raise. Eligible doctors and dentists get a 4.5 percent increase, while low-income healthcare workers get up to a 9.3 percent increase.
The vast majority of teacher receive a 5 percent increase – with a boost of up to 8.9 percent for new teachers as part of a promised recruitment drive.
and police Officials will receive a 5 per cent pay rise – an annual pay rise of around £1,900 – after Home Secretary Priti Patel accepted all recommendations from the Pay Review Board.
The GMB union said the award was a kick in the teeth after the tireless work of NHS staff during the Covid crisis – and said members would now vote on industrial action.
“They deserve so much better,” said GMB’s Laurence Turner. “GMB will now elect our members to offer, but there should be no doubt – everyone has their breaking point and without a fundamental change we will not be able to deliver the public services the country needs.”
Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nurses, had also threatened strikes over sub-inflation raises – saying “another” real pay cut was “completely unacceptable”.
Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison, added: “The Government says it is committed to the NHS but a wage increase that falls well short of prices will not defuse the staff crisis.”
Patrick Roach, general secretary of teachers union NASUWT, said: “If the government is hoping that teachers’ anger will dissipate over the summer holidays, they are wrong. A sub-inflation salary premium would be another pay cut for hard-working teachers.”
The National Education Union (NEU) had warned that the government should bet on “inflation-plus” wages for teachers or faces strikes.
Finance Minister Simon Clarke told a Boris Johnson cabinet meeting on Tuesday that a “fair and sustainable” pay rise for public sector workers had been agreed.
Hospital and prison workers are quitting for less stressful and sometimes better-paying jobs in supermarkets cost of living Crisis, MEPs were told.
David Fry – director of the group that advises how public sector workers should be paid – said the review body, which sets prison staff salaries, had heard reports of staff leaving prison to become delivery drivers.
“Other markets that people could enter have increased, so the review panel has heard reports of people leaving to … become supermarket workers, delivery drivers and other fields,” the head of the Office of Manpower Economics told lawmakers.
The Office independently advises eight pay review bodies, which help set the pay of nearly half of all public sector employees.
Mr Fry’s comments were echoed by Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady.
She said porters and cleaners in NHS hospitals are seeing opportunities elsewhere. “What they are telling me is that they have done their duty during the pandemic. They were always a bit cynical about the clap and how long that would take,” she said.
The TUC boss added: “They’ve been through a lot personally, emotionally and mentally and if they can get a job in a supermarket that’s not as emotionally demanding and very often pays better, why not?”
Ms O’Grady took aim at comments by Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and others that raising workers’ wages will boost inflation.
The TUC chief cited new data showing a 3.7 percent fall in real wages in the three months to May – the worst fall since records began in 2001.
“The real challenge we face is how on earth do we improve people’s wages so that people can have a decent standard of living, raise their families but also pay their taxes that fund our public services “, added her.
She added, “I would urge anyone with more than half a million a year not to lecture low-wage workers about what they are entitled to.”