According to the Financial Times, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and finance minister Jeremy Hunt are considering a deal to end a wave of strikes among the country's public sector workers. The proposed deal would backdate next year's pay rise, scheduled to take effect from April to the beginning of January 2023. Sunak and Hunt consider giving NHS staff and other key workers a lump-sum payment. The Royal College of Nursing, whose members have been engaged in strikes, has not commented on the matter.
Health Minister Steve Barclay of the Department of Health and Social Care has discussed with healthcare unions what is affordable and fair for the 2023-24 pay review body process. The DHSC said in a statement that they want to strike the right balance between what is fair for public sector workers and what the taxpayers can afford.
The Treasury memorandum said that the pay rise for 2023-24 should be less than 5%, as it would have a low risk of protracting high private sector pay growth. A pay rise of 6% would worsen inflation, and a pay rise of 7% would pose a significant risk and could bring about higher interest rates.
Wave of Strikes in the UK Due to Rising Inflation
With inflation at more than 10%, the highest level in four decades, Britain has experienced a wave of strikes across the public and private sectors. Health and transport workers, Amazon warehouse employees, and Royal Mail postal staff are among the strikers. They are demanding above-inflation pay rises to cover rocketing food and energy bills that they say have left them struggling to make ends meet.