Inflation Is Not The Only Motivation Of Striking Workers

28th June 2022 / United Kingdom
Inflation Is Not The Only Motivation Of Striking Workers

The British government set out planned changes to law last Thursday that would make it easier for businesses to use temporary staff to minimise the impact of strike action. This action alone has angered a very large swathe of the working population that has now reached even high-paid workers such as doctors.

Britain’s rail network was brought close to a standstill last week as 40,000 workers walked out in a dispute over pay and trade unions have warned the country faces a summer of disruption as workers struggling with the mounting cost of living threaten industrial action.

Now, more Unions have warned of more local government strikes.

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said industrial action would follow unless care workers were given a pay rise, adding: ‘If employers won’t work with us, if councils won’t address equal pay, then we have to be prepared to take action.’

Councils across London already face uncollected bins as workers serving some boroughs are voting on whether to strike, with more than 100 refuse staff in Croydon due to walk out for three weeks ‘as a last resort’ in a dispute over ‘poverty pay’.

Bexley LBC’s Unite members may also strike, as well as GMB members collecting waste in Wandsworth while Coventry HGV drivers have been striking for four months.

Doctors have just announced they want a 30 per cent pay increase over five years to catch up with more than a decade of frozen pay.

Barristers are on strike – and here’s why. A qualified lawyer makes his case in one sentence –  “I qualified as a lawyer about 20 years ago – as a trainee solicitor my salary was £12,000. Today the median income of a barrister doing criminal legal aid work is £12,200 p.a for the first two years.”

Local councils are taking a hit from inflation with the knock-on effect of looking to cut services as costs spiral. Taken together, inflation, energy costs and projected increases to the National Living Wage will add £2.4 billion in extra cost pressures onto council budgets this year alone, rising to £3.6 billion in 2024/25.

The absolute effects of strikes as a result of an inflation spike is one thing – but anger has erupted after years of excuses for pay restraint. We are all led to believe, that it was the disastrous effects of the bank-led financial crisis which led to austerity. Then everyone was told there was no money left – hence the suppressed wage spiral. The reality is that since the advent of unfettered economic deregulation back in the 1980s, corporate profits have soared at the cost of basic wages. An unexpected inflationary spike is simply the trigger to driving fury and impatience with what no appears to be a government taking its stance of ‘them and us’ by changing laws to help subdue strikers.

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