The staffing crisis in healthcare will get worse if wages are not adjusted to inflation, says the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The TUC says that nurses are worse off now by more than £2,500 than they were twelve years ago, if inflation was taken into account.
According to the Treasury, public sector wages are rising over the next three years, but the TUC says this needs to be a ‘decent’ increase.
It also said that because public sector workers had suffered a “lost decade”, they were already thousands of pounds worse off as their salaries had not kept up with food and price hikes on other essentials.
The situation will get worse in 2022 says the union body, as inflation is forecast to hit six percent or higher.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, said: “Hard work should pay for everyone.
“But millions of key workers – on the frontline of the pandemic – face another year of wages gloom. That is not right.
“The government must stop burying its head and get pay rising across the economy. Ministers cannot abandon families during this cost-of-living crisis.”
More resignations in care sector
The TUC also predicts nurses and care workers will see another year of “wages gloom”, which it said would be a ‘hammer blow to morale’ leading to more staff quitting.
It also said care staff would quit as NHS workers are under intense work pressure with extremely high workloads and no recognition for the work done.
It wants the government to make key worker pay a priority in 2022, which it said would be possible if the restrictions on pay policy was eased. It also called for more funding to government departments.
A government spokesperson said: “We recognise the incredible work that public sector workers have continued to do throughout the pandemic, and the challenges many of them have faced as key workers” adding that public sector pay would increase every year for the next three years.