Unions slam government in reaction to latest inflation figures

"Workers are sick of seeing their living standards fall"


Responding to the latest inflation figures which remain in the double digits, unions have come out to slam the government’s economic policy and urgently called on ministers to raise public sector pay.  

The latest inflation figures remain near a 40-year high, despite easing slightly to 10.1% this January from 10.5% in December.

In response to the figures released yesterday, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) accused the government of intentionally holding back the economy by keeping wages down.

Paul Nowak, TUC General Secretary, said the Tory pay squeeze had, ‘sucked the life out of our economy’ and Rishi Sunak’s plan had ‘failed’.

He said working people are continuing to feel the squeeze and called for a budget reset.  

“Real wages fell faster last year than they have in decades – worse even that during the financial crisis,” said Nowak.

“That’s why working people are desperate for a government with a plan to get pay rising. But instead, we have a Prime Minister determined to hold down pay and refusing to negotiate.

“Whatever Sunak thinks his plan is, it has failed.

“The Tory pay squeeze has sucked the life out of our economy and left us on the brink of recession.

“We need a reset at the budget – a plan to get wages rising across the economy, and funding for public sector pay.”

Public sector pay rises remain way below inflation, which Unite the Union said is continuing to pummel workers’ pay packets.

Unite responded by highlighting the effects of the cost-of-living-crisis combined with below inflation wages.

Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary, said: “These latest figures show the cost of living crisis is still pummelling workers’ pay packets.

“Workers are sick of seeing their living standards fall because of profiteering and bad choices from politicians.”

She said the union would continue to fight for and win better wages.

UNISON responded to the new figures by highlighting the difference between public sector and private sector pay, which remains one of the largest differences ever seen.

Recent data by thinktank Resolution Foundation found real wages declined by 1.9% in the private sector, compared with 5.5% in the public sector.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea accused the government of disregarding public sector workers who are being driven out of the sector due to poor pay.

In response to the latest inflation figures, she said: “When it comes to pay, the people providing vital public services are being treated as also-rans.

“It’s no wonder there are chronic staff shortages in health, care, local government and education, when the pay is far better elsewhere.

“Workers are scared for the future when they see their wages no longer cover the bills.

She called on ministers to ‘wake up’, warning that essential services will fall apart unless public sector employees are paid fairly.

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

(Photo credit: Flickr)

Left Foot Forward’s trade union reporting is supported by the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust

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