A wave of industrial action, which has disrupted life for many including the retail sector, may continue for months to come, the TUC has warned.

Strikes by railway employees and Royal Mail staff are among those that have already affected retail, while action across the public sector has created a mood of anxiety and uncertainty.

However, TUC general secretary Paul Nowak told the BBC: “If the government refuses to negotiate, I think we may see more industrial action as we go into 2023.”

The industrial unrest has been precipitated by the cost-of-living crisis, which has afflicted consumers and many retailers throughout this year.

Inflation, powered by energy costs in particular, stood at a 40-year high of 10.7% in November.

Nowak said: “When you think about those energy bills landing, the cost of the weekly shop, filling up your car, rents and mortgages going up, the one thing that isn’t going up is wages. He said that workers “feel that they have no alternative” to going on strike.

A government spokesperson responded: “We have been reasonable in our approach to agreeing to the independent pay review bodies’ recommendations for public sector pay rises.

“An inflation-matching pay increase of 11% for all public sector workers would cost £28bn. That would be a cost to each household of just under £1,000.”

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