26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Ministers ‘ignoring cost-of-living crisis’

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A United Kingdom public sector union leader has accused the Government of making no effort to resolve the wave of pay-related strikes that are affecting a range of services across the nation.

General Secretary of the FDA union, representing senior bureaucrats, Dave Penman said Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and his Ministers were wilfully ignoring the gulf between current pay offers and the rate of inflation.

He accused Ministers of using the Royal College of Nursing’s inflation-busting pay demand of 19 per cent as an excuse to avoid engaging in necessary talks to help workers with cost-of-living pressures.

“The nurses have asked for 19 per cent. Okay then, what are you offering?” Mr Penman (pictured) asked.

“What are you doing to try and resolve it? You’re doing nothing,” he said.

“That’s what we’ve said to the Minister for the Civil Service as well: You’re not attempting to resolve this.”

Meanwhile, former Public Servants and Local Government staff who took early retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic are thinking about returning to work as the cost-of-living crisis bites, official statistics have revealed.

Retirees accounted for around half of Government staff aged 50-to-65 who left the workforce during the pandemic and are considering a return, the Office for National Statistics figures showed.

‘Retirement regret’ was higher among ex-Public Servants and Local Government workers than for other occupations.

By contrast, only 37 per cent of healthcare workers who were thinking about returning to work had left through retirement, with 27 per cent saying they had quit because of stress.

Of those ex-Public Servants who were thinking of returning to the workforce, nearly two-thirds said money was a key consideration.

Around one in three said they thought returning to the workplace could improve their mental health, and a similar number said they would be looking for social company or a job they enjoyed.

London, 5 January, 2023

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