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Public sector workers offered pay rises of up to 7%

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

The Government has announced pay rises for public sector workers including doctors, teachers and police.

The amount varied on the sector and worker role, with rises of between 5% and 7% on the table.

Teachers and junior doctors are being offered pay rises of 6.5% and 6% respectively, while police and prison offers have been offered 7%.

Workers who are part of a union will now be asked to vote to accept the pay offers. If accepted, this could mean the end to further strikes.

The announcement from the Government comes amid a wave of strike action across the public sector including teachers and NHS staff. It also comes as junior doctors are currently taking part in a five-day walkout which will end on Tuesday 18 July. They have asked for a 35% pay rise.

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “Now clearly, this will cost all of you, as taxpayers, more than we had budgeted for.

“That’s why the decision has been difficult and why it has taken time to decide the right course of action.

“I can confirm that we’re accepting the headline recommendations of the Pay Review Bodies in full.”

The PM said the pay rises would not be funded by increasing taxes or through further borrowing. He also said the offer was final and “there would be no more talks on pay” and “no amount of strikes will change our decision”.

The Government’s pay offers

The latest pay offers put to unions are the following:

  • Junior doctors: pay rises of 6% plus a one-off payment of £1,250 in England
  • Consultants, dentists and GPs: pay rises of 6% in England
  • Teachers: pay rises of 6.5% for teachers in England
  • Police officers: pay rises of 7% in England and Wales
  • Prison officers: pay rises of 7% in England and Wales
  • Armed forces: pay rises of 5%
  • Senior civil servants: pay rises of 5.5%.

NHS staff (apart from junior doctors and consultants) were not included in the latest pay announcement by the Government. This includes workers such as nurses and ambulance staff, both of which have taken part in strike action recently.

The Government’s pay announcements are based on information from pay review bodies (PRB)s, which are independent review bodies providing advice on pay for public sector workers.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “By accepting the PRB recommendations and then not funding them the Government is putting its departments between a rock and hard place. They now have to choose between paying workers a half-decent salary or cutting services in already underfunded public services.

“If the Government wanted to, it could well afford to pay public sector workers properly, while maintaining and indeed improving funding for schools and hospitals. It could start by looking at the money made by profiteering companies that have been driving up inflation.”

Education unions have said they will advise their members to accept the latest offer.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, said: “No teacher wanted to strike but equally no teacher could continue to stand by and see yet again their pay eroded, their school funding decimated, and their workload left unaddressed.

“There is still much more to do to ensure that teachers are properly rewarded, workload reduced, and schools properly funded. Should the offer be accepted by members, the NEU will continue campaigning and negotiating with the Department for Education to ensure improved working conditions for teachers and an improved education system for children and young people.”

‘Likely to continue to take industrial action’

Medical unions have reacted angrily to the pay offer and the British Medical Association (BMA) said the offer is “exactly why so many doctors are feeling they have no option but to take industrial action”.

The BMA chair of council, professor Phil Banfield, said the announcement “represents yet another pay cut in real terms and serves only to increase the losses faced by doctors after more than a decade’s worth of sub-inflation pay awards”.

He said: “Consultants remain willing to talk, but this offer, and the absence of the Government entering into talks with them, means, like juniors in England, they are likely to continue to take industrial action. It’s highly likely that other groups of doctors we represent will also consider their next steps.

“I implore the Prime Minister not to become the roadblock to a deal by refusing all further talks. Doctors remain ready to continue to negotiate if the Prime Minister is willing.”

The Police Federation of England said the latest offer “is a step in the right direction, but still falls short of the real-term pay cut officers have suffered since 2000”. The Prison Officers Association said it was reacting “cautiously” to the announcement.

‘A wrecking ball to our public finances’

Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, said: “Rishi Sunak is taking a wrecking ball to our public services with these savage cuts. He must come clean about the devastating impact this will have on local hospitals and schools across the country.

“The public deserves answers about where these cuts will fall and how many more Conservative promises will end up on the scrap heap.

“This could lead to more children being taught in crumbling classrooms and more patients being treated in buildings at risk of collapse. It will make the recruitment and retention of nurses and teachers even more difficult and blows a hole in the Government’s NHS workforce plan.

“The Government doesn’t need to borrow money to do this, they could raise money by reversing tax cuts for the banks, introducing a proper windfall tax or clamping down on tax avoidance.”