Are the Pay Review Bodies Fit for Purpose in 2023?

At the start of 2023, the UK economy is caught up in a period of widespread and damaging industrial unrest with teachers, nurses, ambulance workers, and many others in the middle of disruptive strikes over wage demands. This crisis has been brought about by the huge hike in oil and gas prices and their knock-on effects on all costs induced by Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

Pub. Date
02 February, 2023
Man interviewing a woman - Pay Review Bodies

With the cost-of-living rising at over 10 per cent per annum for much of 2022 the Government steadfastly wants to limit wage rises of public-sector workers to around 4 per cent. What are the arguments in this debate? Why is the Government trying to limit these pay rises? What is the role of the Pay Review Bodies (PRB) in this process and how might they be appraised?

In the light of the cost-of-living crisis, is there a case for reviewing what the PRBs do and how the government uses them? This box reviews brief answers to these questions.