Thérèse Coffey, Secretary for Work and Pensions, urged wealthy retirees to consider paying back the increase in state pensions, while Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, downplayed fears the policy would stoke inflation.

Johnson faces a new test of his leadership in two by-elections on Thursday, when voters in Tiverton and Honiton, Devon, and Wakefield, West Yorkshire, decide whether to return Conservative MPs.

The defeat in both districts would be taken advantage of by the conservative rebels, who have not given up their attempts to oust Johnson, despite his victory in a confidence vote earlier this month.

As another day of strikes threatens further economic damage, officials were drafting legislation that will repeal legal restrictions that bar bosses from using agency staff to cover for striking workers.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it would “minimize the negative and unfair impact of strikes”, adding: “Strikes in public services such as education can often mean that parents have to stay home with their children instead of going to work, or strikes in the railway sector that prevent commuters from getting to work or other businesses”.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, added that the unions were “rescuing the country” and said: “The repeal of these 1970s restrictions will give companies the freedom to quickly access fully qualified staff, at the same time that allows people to continue with their activities. uninterrupted lives to help keep the economy going.”

Education Department officials said the new laws could play a role in minimizing disruption to students. The sources said “all options are on the table.”

But the change is unlikely to come soon enough to salvage a summer of disruptions on rail networks, with bosses bracing for a new wave of strikes in two weeks after talks with the RMT broke down on Wednesday.

In a further threat to the Christmas getaway, the Aslef union revealed that it has voted for train drivers to act on pay at 11 major railway companies across the country. The action could start just as the schools disintegrate.

On Wednesday, Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, blamed the “botched” negotiations on Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, saying he was making it impossible to reach an agreement because he would not allow a letter threatening redundancies to be withdrawn. for 2,900 members.

In an angry retort, the Transport Secretary said it was a “total lie” and called on the RMT to “stop wasting time making false claims in the media and instead come back to the negotiating table, so that it can be reach an agreement”.

Zahawi now faces his own battle with the unions. He said that while teachers deserved to be recognized for their efforts, tying their salaries to inflation “with a war in Europe and supply chains recovering after Covid is irresponsible.”

On Wednesday morning, the NEU wrote to Zahawi urging him to “respond to the new economic reality of double-digit inflation and the threat this poses to teachers’ living standards.”

Dr. Mary Bousted, Deputy General Secretary of the NEU, urged Zahawi to “commit to raising inflation for all teachers”.

NEU’s letter came as the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that inflation has hit a 40-year high of 9.1 percent.

A second education union, the National Union of School Teachers for Women Teachers (NASUWT), has also said it will vote its members out for industrial action if staff do not receive a 12 per cent pay rise.

Both unions represent grassroots teachers and between them they represent the vast majority of school staff.

A second education union, the National Union of School Teachers for Women Teachers (NASUWT), has also said it will vote its members out for industrial action if staff do not receive a 12 per cent pay rise.

Both unions represent grassroots teachers and between them they represent the vast majority of school staff.

The NEU has claimed that schools will face national chaos if the strikes continue.



Reference-www.telegraph.co.uk

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