In the United Kingdom, social anger is simmering and unabated. The row that began this summer – notably leading to the resignation of Boris Johnson’s lightning rod Liz Truss, who was immediately replaced by Rishi Sunak – continues.
For good reason: inflation is approaching 11% a year, one of the highest rates in Europe. Britons have also been hit by a 6% rise in food prices, a direct result of Brexit and no longer benefiting from European protection mechanisms. According to a survey published last October by the Consumer Protection Association “Which? Millions of Britons are skipping meals and 80% of the 3,000 people surveyed say they are struggling financially.
Faced with these exploding costs and growing difficulties to live decently, millions of workers in various sectors are demanding higher wages. At the forefront: Rail workers led by the RMT, the transport union, which will go on strike on January 3, 4, 6 and 7, have already rejected a proposal for an 8% pay rise over two years, deeming it insufficient. In the face of rising prices. The demands do not stop especially on the salary issue.
” We have said from the beginning that it is not only the salary but also the conditions. It’s about how our members are fully committed to protecting their terms. If we don’t [les] Don’t protect, we’ll end up like all workers in the gig economy [économie des petits boulots Ndlr]All the low paid and vulnerable people in our society », Mick Lynch, the union’s general secretary, insists on BBC Radio 4 this Monday morning. Since the start of the strike in the early summer, the RMT has been campaigning against the closure of ticket offices, job cuts and the generalization of the operation of the network by one driver. ” It’s about how our members are deployed and their work-life balance adds Lynch.
“Radio Silence” from Transport Minister
Faced with this anger, the Conservative government turns a deaf ear. Mick Lynch condemned the “radio silence” from the Transport Minister, who has not spoken since mid-December. asked the newspaper GuardianHowever, a ministry spokesperson said: ” The government has proved that it is fair and willing to facilitate settlement of railway disputes. It is time for unions to sit at the negotiating table and play their part. »
Any salary increase is excluded. ” An inflation-adjusted pay rise for all public sector workers will cost everyone more in the long run – Adding debt, fueling inflation and costing every household 1 000 Additional £ », Argues the same source that calls for the movement’s end: ” The unions must call off the strike action so that the damaging dispute can be brought to an end by 2023. »
Worse, the Conservative prime minister promised in mid-December to establish “ Tough new laws against the strikers.
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