UK's PM considering five per cent public-sector pay raise to end strikes
MOSCOW - UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is considering a five per cent pay raise for public-sector workers to put an end to a wave of strikes as the UK Treasury was provided with an unexpected 30 billion pounds (US$36.36 billion) boost to public finances, reported Sputnik quoting a Financial Times report.
The media cited the memo as saying that the 5 per cent pay raise for public-sector employees in 2023-2024 would have only a "low risk" of setting a benchmark for protracted high private-sector pay growth.
The move came after official figures showed that public borrowings were likely to be 30 billion pounds lower than expected due to high tax receipts, a decrease in energy prices, and low public investment.
The new public finances outlook has provided Sunak with the opportunity to offer pay raises as he seeks to put an end to industrial strike actions that dominated politics during his time in office.
However, the media cited government insiders as saying that London was considering both a pay raise of about 5 per cent for public sector employees next year and a backdated payment, even though the figure is below the forecast 5.5 per cent inflation for the next year.
The UK has seen a series of strikes by civil servants over the past months as people express their dissatisfaction with the worsening economic situation caused by rising energy prices and soaring inflation in the country.
Employees of railroad companies, post offices, airports, and lawyers, among others, have been taking part in the demonstrations.
UK broadcaster Sky News reported in mid-February, citing data from the country's Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of working days lost to labour disputes in December amounted to 843,000, bringing the total number of strike days from June to December 2022 to 2,471,000, marking the highest number since 1989.
In late January, the ONS said that the volume of public borrowing in the UK in December 2022 reached 27.4 billion pounds due to providing support to the population because of the crisis in the country, which was a record-high December figure in UK's history. - BERNAMA