Prime Minister Warns of Higher Taxes for Meeting Pay Demands Over Strikes

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Dec 14, 2022
4 minutes read

Various public sector workers are in dire need of government aid, having been denied pay rises matching inflation for years. Now unions are calling for pay rises several percentages above the current rate of inflation in a bid to tackle the discrepancy with private sector wages that haven’t been bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis like the public sector has. With nurses using food banks and 95% of all public sector workers finding it increasingly more difficult to pay their household bills, it’s come to a breaking point.

Rishi Sunak spoke on Friday about how families would have to pay an extra £1,000 a year in taxes if the government accepted public sector union pay demands. This figure is based on the assumption that the pay demands would cost the Treasury £28 billion. Government ministers have been against the idea of accepting pay demands as they argue it would cause inflation to worsen. The narrative has now switched to the £28 billion figure in an attempt to gain public favour that these desperately needed pay rises are unaffordable.

According to a BBC report, an inflationary pay rise would cost around £23 billion, which equates to around £820 per each of the 28 million households. Ben Zaranko, from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, pointed out that the government was already budgeting for a public sector 3% average pay rise. Increasing this figure to match inflation would only cost around £18 billion, or £640 per household, giving cause for concern that the government is bending the figures slightly for more of a headline.

Currently, the UK Government is looking to pass some new laws to prevent as many people from being allowed to strike and to mitigate its effects. This includes increasing the number of vocations that aren’t legally permitted to strike and ensuring transportation can continue to run. In one fell swoop, the Conservatives reveal their claws as they seek to undermine workers’ rights and civil liberties. Many of these public sector workers have felt as though they’ve had no choice but to strike as they haven’t been listened to. The NHS has continually been underfunded by the government since they took power 12 years ago, and it has come back to bite them. Waiting lists are sky high and staff are overworked and underpaid; it’s no wonder that they feel as though striking is their only course of action.

Striking reflects badly on the government as it proves to the general population that they don’t have everything under control. It’s always a last resort when unions and workers feel as though they haven’t been listened to. While it affects and disrupts the general population more than the government, it puts an onus on those in control to put things right. Stopping strike action is not the way forward, as this is just shifting the problem to the side where it can be happily ignored. If the NHS is banned from striking, it will eventually collapse under Conservative rule as it will not be listened to.