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Business News/ News / World/  UK government offers millions of public sector workers pay raises in push to end strikes
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UK government offers millions of public sector workers pay raises in push to end strikes

The British government Thursday offered millions of public sector workers including teachers, police and junior doctors pay raise between 5% to 7% in a bid to end an array of strikes, including a five-day walkout from doctors in Britain’s publicly funded health service

PM Sunak said the offers, which are not being funded by extra borrowing, or increasing taxes are 'final' and that there would be no more pay discussions (Photo: AFP)Premium
PM Sunak said the offers, which are not being funded by extra borrowing, or increasing taxes are 'final' and that there would be no more pay discussions (Photo: AFP)

The British government Thursday offered millions of public sector workers including teachers, police and junior doctors pay raise between 5% to 7% in a bid to end an array of strikes, including a five-day walkout from doctors in Britain’s publicly funded health service. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his government was accepting the recommendations from pay review bodies, which will see a 7% rise for police and prison officers, 6.5% for teachers and 6% for the striking junior doctors.

Sunak said the offers, which are not being funded by extra borrowing, or increasing taxes are “final" and that there would be no more pay discussions.

"There will be no more talks on pay. We will not negotiate again on this year's settlements and no amount of strikes will change our decision" the prime minister said.

Following the announcement, the education unions said they would now put the offer to their members with a recommendation to accept the pay award, and said the deal would allow the strikes to be called off.

Sunak said the question is how other unions will respond to what is in effect an ultimatum.

On Thursday, junior doctors began a five day walkout, after their calls for a 35% pay increase were rejected.

The British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, has asked for the big leap in pay to bring junior doctors’ pay back to 2008 levels once inflation is taken into account. The workload of England's 75,000 or so junior doctors also has swelled as patient waiting lists for treatment are at record highs following the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today marks the start of the longest single walkout by doctors in the NHS’s history, but this is still not a record that needs to go into the history books," said BMA leaders Dr. Robert Laurenson and Dr. Vivek Trivedi.

Prime Minister Sunak said he would be asking government departments to re-prioritise their focus on pay when he was asked from where the money would come to fund other pay awards.

The prime minister also said the government would raise over £1 billion by "significantly" increasing charges for migrants coming to the UK when they apply for visas and the levy they pay to access the NHS.

In Britain, almost half of public sector workers are covered by pay review bodies, including police and prison officers, the armed forces, doctors, dentists and teachers.

The pay review bodies are made up of economists and experts on human resources, with experience in both the public and private sector and are appointed by the relevant government department.

Britain, like other countries, is grappling with high inflation for the first time in years. Price rises were first stoked by supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic and then by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent energy and food prices soaring. Though inflation has come down slightly from its peak — to 8.7% — it remains far above the 2% level the Bank of England is tasked to target.

(With inputes from agencies)

 

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Published: 13 Jul 2023, 06:40 PM IST
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