Boris Johnson yesterday vowed to ‘stay the course’ against union activists amid fears the railway strikes could spread like wildfire across the public sector.
The Prime Minister told his cabinet that wage moderation was vital in the public sector, despite threats of strike action by unions in schools, hospitals and other services.
Downing Street said inflation-level wage increases would risk spiraling wages and prices, fueling even higher prices. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘The consensus is that providing pay rises that chase inflation only makes the problem worse.’ It would take the most money from people in the long run.
Impending pay reviews in the public sector should recommend increases of around 3 percent. The Communications Workers Union yesterday became the latest to push for a strike, with 115,000 postal workers voting to strike on a 2% wage offer.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the start of a Cabinet meeting in Downing Street on June 21, 2022 in London, England
Members of the PCS union who work in the culture sector protest against the V&A against the use of the building for a Conservative Party fundraiser on June 20, 2022 in London, England
Jubilee Line trains parked at the London Underground Stratford Market Depot in London, as London Underground workers joined rail, maritime and transport union members in their national strike in a bitter dispute over pay , jobs and conditions. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2022
Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger called Royal Mail’s offer “totally inadequate” and demanded an increase “based on inflation, with no strings attached”. The National Education Union has warned it will vote for members today unless teachers are offered an inflation-level pay rise. General Secretary Mary Bousted acknowledged “a risk” that demand would fuel further price rises, but said: “The risk if you don’t pay teachers properly is greater.”
Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, called on nurses to get a 5% raise above inflation. The British Medical Association said doctors deserve inflation plus 2%.
No 10 warned that inflation-level wage increases were ‘not achievable at all levels at this time’. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘There is certainly a lot of work going on across government to mitigate any disruption we may see in a strike.
Ministers will continue this week with plans to end a 50-year-old ban on using agency workers to break strikes. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that the government will also introduce legislation requiring unions to provide “minimum service levels” during strikes in essential services.
Addressing yesterday’s railway strike – the biggest for 30 years – Mr Johnson called on the ‘union barons to sit down with Network Rail and the rail companies’ and agree to reforms, including including ending dozens of outdated practices that have plagued the industry for years.
Labor MPs took to the picket line today in solidarity with unionized RMT workers
Members of the RMT union demonstrate outside Victoria Station on June 21, 2022 in London
He said the ‘wrong and unnecessary’ strikes had caused ‘significant disruption and inconvenience across the country’, adding: ‘We need, I’m afraid, everyone – and I say this to the country – we need to get ready to stay the course.
“Because these reforms, these improvements in the way we run our railways are in the interest of the traveling public, they will help reduce costs for riders across the country.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the Cabinet that more spending needed to be restrained to curb inflation.
A source said he had also warned against immediate tax cuts, saying the government should “not take any action that could fuel inflationary pressures or reduce the government’s ability to cut taxes at home”. ‘coming”.
Downing Street said its spending would not be increased to reflect soaring inflation, meaning many areas would face a reduction in real terms in coming years. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the latest spending review was “relatively generous”, adding: “The public would expect us to work within this framework”.