Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned public sector unions that staggered pay deals are necessary to control inflation.
He told BBC News 24 that uncontrolled rises in wages could damage the stability of the economy and result in high interest rates. Brown is reported to have said: “We have succeeded in tackling inflation and have a stable economy because of discipline in pay over the last 10 years. That discipline will have to continue.”
He added that pay awards provided in various stages was an essential factor in keeping interest rates down, creating jobs and controlling inflation.
“We will do nothing, nothing, to put that at risk. It is an essential element of maintaining discipline in the economy,” he said.
Prison officers in state-run jails in England and Wales,led by the Prison Officers’ Association, went on strike earlier this week over the rejection of a staged 2.5% pay deal.
Prison officers voted in favour for industrial action up to and including strike action in reaction to the decision to pay a recommended 2.5% pay deal in two stages. The union argued that the deal cut the value of the award to 1.9%.
The strike ended after the Ministry of Justice won a court injunction.