The strikes for salary improvements have multiplied this boreal summer in United Kingdom Y new strikes are expected at the end of Augustin the face of skyrocketing inflation and collapsing purchasing power.
The British unions RMT, TSSA and Unite called for a new strike of railway employees for this Thursday and Saturday. The movement, which involves tens of thousands of workers, began in June and constitutes the biggest strike in that sector in the last thirty years.
In this period of school holidays, Network Rail, the public administrator of the rail network, warned that only one train out of five would circulate and urged the British to “use trains only if absolutely necessary.”
On Friday, the whole of London’s transport network will be almost paralyzed and will remain disturbed all weekend.
On Sunday, dockworkers at the port of Felixstowe (east of England), the country’s largest cargo port, will go on an eight-day strike, threatening to stop much of the freight traffic.
Everywhere, the slogan is the same: the workers demand wage increases corresponding to inflation, which reached 10.1% in twelve months in July and could exceed 13% in October, according to Bank of England forecasts.
Purchasing power is being eaten away at record speed by rising prices, which “demonstrates the vital need (…) to defend the value of wages”, Says in a statement Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, one of the main unions in the country.
First strike in 35 years
Summoned by the sectoral union CWU, more than 115,000 postal employees have foreseen four days of strike between the end of August and the beginning of September, while 40,000 workers of the telecommunications operator BT will make their first strike in 35 years.
Similar actions are planned or have occurred in the Amazon warehouses, between criminal lawyers or among garbage collectors.
“Companies do everything possible to help their staff get through this period,” the CBI employers’ union said on Tuesday. “But a large majority cannot afford to raise wages enough to offset inflation, he added.
Some strikes have been averted at the last minute thanks to remuneration offers considered satisfactory.
Employees of a fuel supply company at London’s Heathrow International Airport, who threatened to disrupt traffic, eventually called off the strike.
The ground staff of British Airways, who asked for at least the restoration of salaries amputated by 10% during the pandemic, accepted a 13% increase and resigned from unemployment.
The Railway workers, on the other hand, maintain their strike, since the negotiations with a multitude of private operators are at an impasse.
The unions also denounce the government’s decision to modify the law to allow the use of interim workers to replace strikers.
The famous London luxury department store Harrod’s it was the “first company to threaten its staff” with resorting to this law, in the midst of a staff vote on a strike proposal, according to Unite.
These social movements could last beyond the summer and extend to education and health officials, where the unions have described as “miserable” the offers of salary increases of 4%.
(With information from AFP/by Olivier Devos)
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