In the UK, inflation triggers a new wave of attacks

New large-scale walkouts began on Thursday in transport, post and ports to protest against the decline in purchasing power in Britain since this summer.

Massive walkout among railway workers, postmen, postmen. The UK has been facing a new round of mass transport, postal and port walkouts since Thursday August 18. It is the biggest strike movement in decades which has continued since the beginning of the summer in the face of inflation which is eating away at the purchasing power of the British.

Only one in five trains ran in the country on Thursday during school holidays. Thousands of railway workers have been made redundant by the RMT and TSSA and Unite unions. Network Rail, the public network operator, has encouraged users to avoid this mode of transport.

Travelers who broke the order were nevertheless understood, as the general rise in prices, which last month exceeded 10% across the Channel for the first time in more than 40 years, devalues ​​British wages.

“We are all trying to make a living”

“I’ll be too late, that’s for sure,” Usama Sarada, a 30-year-old dentist, told AFP on her way from London’s Euston station to a wedding in the north of the country. But the strike is “just because inflation is at an all-time high right now”, he said.

Railway workers are “people like me”, more so than Greg Ellwood, a 26-year-old consultant who crossed over at Leeds station in northern England. “We’re all trying to make a living and get ahead,” he says. I have full sympathy for him in the world.

The biggest strike action by railway workers since 1989 in the late Thatcher years “could go on forever”, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has warned of railway workers in bouts since June for lack of contractual pay. The walkout continues. ,

“British workers are fundamentally underpaid”, say the trade unionists, for whom the movement “will not break” and vice versa could spread to “all sectors of the economy”.

Indeed, movements are multiplying in the country. On Friday, the entire London transport network will be almost paralyzed, and will be heavily disrupted throughout the weekend, while another day of train strikes are scheduled for Saturday.

“sad”

If the strike did not directly concern Eurostar employees, the trains using the Channel Tunnel, the operator also had to reduce the number of its services due to the reduction of timetables on all British lines.

On Sunday, dockworkers at the port of Felixstow (east of England) – the most important for freight traffic in the country – begin an eight-day strike, threatening to shut down much of the country’s freight traffic.

Postal workers, employees of the telecommunications operator BT, handlers from Amazon, but also criminal lawyers or garbage collectors have walked off or plan to do so.

The movement could continue even after the summer, and extend to civil servants in education or health, where Unite has faced “pathetic” 4% wage offers.

It’s the same everywhere: employees are demanding an increase in their wages in line with inflation, which in one year rose to 10.1% in July and could exceed 13% in October.

Prices are driven in particular by gas prices, on which the country is heavily dependent and which are rising in the wake of the war in Ukraine, but also by supply chain disruptions and labor shortages in the wake of Covid-19 and Brexit.

“Compensation of employees”

Price increases at a record pace are eroding purchasing power, which ‘demonstrates the critical need … to protect the value of workers’ compensation’, says Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham in a press release. Diyas are important in the country.

However, some attacks have recently been averted, following successful compensation offers from a refueling company at Heathrow Airport or among British Airways ground staff.

In rail, negotiations are at a standstill with a multitude of private operators in the sector, according to the unions, which have also rejected Network Rail’s 8% wage offer, which they accuse of being conditional on layoffs massive.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps, who declined to be directly involved in the discussion, was dismissed by the organisations, accusing the companies of not giving enough mandates to negotiate.

Another cause for union anger: the government has just amended the law to allow temporary workers to take the place of strikers.

AFP. with

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