The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned the staffing crisis in the care sector will worsen if the wages of health workers are not adjusted for rising inflation.
According to the union federation’s calculations, nurses are currently £2,700 worse off than in 2010 with inflation taken into account, while care workers employed by local authorities are more than £1,600 a year worse off.
With inflation now forecast to reach 6% or higher in 2022, the TUC is calling on the government to ensure public sector workers get a “decent” pay rise.
Otherwise, the sector will continue to haemorrhage staff, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady warned.
She 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.”
The union added that public sector workers were already thousands of pounds worse off after suffering a “lost decade” which saw wages failing to keep up with price rises.
The TUC called on the Government to prioritise key worker pay in 2022 by easing restrictions on pay policy and providing more funding to Government departments.