Unions slam government in reaction to latest inflation figures

“Workers are tired of seeing their living standards fall”


In response to the latest inflation figures, which are still in the double digits, unions have criticized the government’s economic policies and urged ministers to raise public sector salaries.

The latest inflation figure remains near a 40-year high, although it edged down 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 deliberately slowing down the economy by keeping wages low.

Paul Nowak, TUC general secretary, said the Tory pay crunch had “sucked the life out of our economy” and that Rishi Sunak’s plan had “failed”.

He said working people continue to feel the pressure and called for a budget rollback.

“Real wages have fallen by the most in decades over the past year — worse during the financial crisis,” Nowak said.

“That’s why working people are desperate for a government with a plan to raise wages. But instead we have a prime minister determined to keep wages low and refusing to negotiate.

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

“The Tory pay crunch sucked the life out of our economy and pushed us to the brink of recession.

“We need a budget rebalancing — a plan to increase wages across the economy and funding for public sector salaries.”

Public sector wage increases remain well below inflation, which Unite the Union said continues to pound workers’ wage packages.

Unite responded by highlighting the impact of the cost of living crisis coupled with sub-inflationary wages.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “These latest figures show that the cost of living crisis is still weighing on workers’ wages.

“Workers are fed up with seeing their living standards drop because of profiteering and bad decisions by politicians.”

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

UNISON reacted to the new numbers by highlighting the gap between public sector and private sector salaries, which remains one of the largest gaps ever observed.

Recent data from the think tank Resolution Foundation shows that real wages in the private sector have fallen by 1.9%, compared to 5.5% in the public sector.

UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea accused the government of disrespecting public sector workers who were being ousted from the sector because of poor pay.

Commenting on the latest inflation figures, she said: “When it comes to pay, the people who provide essential public services are treated as followers.

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

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

She urged ministers to “wake up” and warned that essential services would collapse if public sector workers were not paid fairly.

Hannah Davenport is a union reporter for Left Foot Forward

(Image credit: Flickr)

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

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