Employees in every sector from transport to telecoms were demanding pay rises, but Boris Johnson claimed higher pay could force the Bank of England to hike interest rates
Image: MyLondon / Darren Pepe)
Hundreds of thousands of workers are facing a “summer of discontent” as Boris Johnson yesterday went to war against workers demanding wage increases.
Workers in every sector, from transport to telecommunications, from hospitals to leisure centres, and garbage collectors, bus drivers and postal workers have either gone on strike or may stage walkouts.
While some are demanding pay rises to keep up with the rising cost of living, others just want a decent pay rise. It came as the PM sparked a backlash by warning of a 1970s-style “wage price spiral”.
Mr Johnson, speaking in Blackpool, claimed big pay rises could force the Bank of England to hike interest rates.
Millions of households have been plunged into poverty by a record wave of energy price hikes, with nurses forced to use food banks.
The most prominent dispute is a looming nationwide strike by railroad workers this month which the RMT union says will shut down the network. Engine drivers are to join in after the Aslef union announced strikes at three companies over pay yesterday.
More than 40,000 BT workers are due to be voted in next week in the first nationwide strike in 35 years at the former state telecoms monopoly.
The Communication Workers Union is preparing a vote of 115,000 postal workers at Royal Mail. Budweiser workers have announced summer strikes over wages. Thousands of British Airways workers could go on strike along with baggage handlers in Stansted.
Financial Conduct Authority workers began a second wave of strikes yesterday in London and Edinburgh.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Waste collectors in Croydon, south London; Wealden, East Sussex; and Chesterfield, Derbyshire are on strike or elected.
The GMB union says it has been involved in around 50 disputes since late last year. Gary Smith, general secretary, said: “The country is facing a summer of discontent – it’s a perfect storm of the cost of living, stagnant wages and labor shortages.”
Inflation has hit a 40-year high of 9% and is forecast to top 10% by the autumn. The Office for National Statistics shows that wages rose by an average of 4.2% in the first three months of this year, a real wage cut of millions of dollars.
Unite secured a 13% pay rise for Babcock staff at Plymouth Devonport shipyard and 15% for baggage handlers at Glasgow Airport.
Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “We have the tightest labor market of our lives. There’s never been a better time to ask for a raise.”
But Mr Johnson warned: “When a wage-price spiral begins, there is only one cure…put the brakes on rising prices with higher interest rates.”
But TUC deputy general secretary Paul Nowak said energy prices were driving inflation. He said: “Workers are suffering the longest wage crunch in more than 200 years.”
Sharon Graham, General Secretary of Unite, said: “Wages chase prices and do not raise them.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-goes-war-workers-27193781 'Summer of Discontent' in Britain as Boris Johnson goes to war with workers to demand pay rises