Unions prepare big pay demands to offset food and fuel price rises

Unions prepare big pay demands to offset food and fuel price rises

Substantial pay rises are being sought to compensate for sharp increases in energy and food prices, the union-funded Labour Research Department warned last night.

A survey of more than 800 pay deals covering 6.3 million workers shows that last financial year a gap opened up between the private and public sectors.

Workers in the private sector were averaging 45% higher settlements than those in the public sector, where the government has been determined to hold pay rises below 3%.

Highest pay rises in the private sector – up to 6% a year- were in the nuclear, energy, mining and water industries. Lowest were in privately run public administration, education and health. Hotel and catering was also held down.

The government kept the average public sector rise to 2.75% last year, largely because of the decision of 1.2 million NHS staff to accept that figure.

With strikes now planned by civil servants and teachers balloting for further strike action, the LRD predicts a much more unstable pay situation this winter.

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