Thursday, August 11 2022

‘There is no alternative’: Treasury official tells unions he will fight public sector wage increases, even under threat of strikes

  • Wage increases of 5% on average have prompted calls for industrial action from unions
  • Accusations that they amount to real pay cut terms due to soaring cost of living
  • Chief Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke said the increases were ‘extremely generous’

Demands for higher pay rises in the public sector will be rebuffed even if they lead to strikes, unions said yesterday.

Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said the raises given to teachers, nurses and police this week were “extremely generous”, after they were accused of cutting wages in real terms due to the soaring cost of life.

Wage increases of 5 per cent on average have prompted calls for industrial action from unions.

Demands for higher public sector pay rises will be pushed back even if it leads to strikes, unions said yesterday

Mr Clarke said wages needed to be brought under control – and quoted Margaret Thatcher, who defeated the leftist union barons, insisting: ‘There is no alternative’.

He told Times Radio that the settlements were “by recent standards of the past 20 years extremely generous”.

When asked on Radio 4’s Today program if the government’s attitude was “that’s it and if you have to face strikes, so be it”, he replied: “It’s absolutely correct “. Sharon Graham, general secretary of the Unite union, said: ‘It’s not workers’ wages that drive inflation, it’s relentless corporate profiteering. It’s time we started talking about it.

Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said the raises given to teachers, nurses and police this week were

Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said the raises given to teachers, nurses and police this week were “extremely generous”, after they were accused of cutting wages in real terms due to the soaring cost of life.

A senior Labor politician has agreed to union demands that public sector workers receive pay rises that keep pace with inflation.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The problem is that some public services have had no pay rise for 12 years or a pay rise below inflation, which in effect means a pay cut.”

“So for the public services that have taken 12 years of ostensible pay cuts, they deserve a pay raise at least (of) inflation.”

And in his final appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson mocked Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer’s reliance on donations from major unions.

In his final appearance at Prime Minister's Questions, Boris Johnson mocked Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer's reliance on donations from major unions.

In his final appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson mocked Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer’s reliance on donations from major unions.

“I can tell you why he’s doing that funny thrashing gesture, because he’s got the union barons pulling his strings under him. This is the truth,’ Mr Johnson told the Commons.

After the biggest rail strikes in 30 years last month and continued disruption to the criminal courts caused by the departure of lawyers, Britain’s ‘summer of discontent’ will continue today [thurs] with airline refuellers at Heathrow downing tools.

Passengers were also warned yesterday that a railway strike called by the RMT union would mean no trains running next Wednesday.

More than 100,000 Royal Mail workers also voted to strike this summer, after a poll organized by the Communication Workers Union.


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