Union leaders should co-ordinate strike action and organise big demonstrations against the return of austerity and under inflation pay rises (wage cuts) say Solidarity union.
Price rises surged again in September. New official statistics released on Wednesday showed the RPI inflation rate had bit 12.6 percent, a rise of 0.3 percent.
The main driver was higher food prices, which went up by almost 15 percent. The figure means that if wages “rise” by, say, 4 percent, that is actually a cut of 8.6 percent.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the government’s preferred CPI measure of inflation rose 0.5 percent in the month compared with August to 10.1 percent.
Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics, said, “After last month’s small fall, headline inflation returned to its high seen earlier in the summer. The rise was driven by further increases across food, which saw its largest annual rise in over 40 years.”
Price rises have not yet peaked, despite the energy price guarantee limiting gas and electricity bills this winter. The ONS said electricity prices rose by 54 percent and gas prices almost doubled in the year to September.
The September figure is also the number normally used for the uprating of benefits, including the state pension. Last Tuesday, new chancellor Jeremy Hunt could not guarantee the government would stick to its “triple lock” commitment on pensions. That would increase them by earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent—whichever is highest.
Cutting pensions and benefits as inflation keeps rising means an assault on millions of ordinary people. It will mean deep poverty, malnutrition, illness and death.
Patrick Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity said: “All unions must fight for wage increases that at least match inflation. Workers are already being hit hard. We must also oppose any attempt to cut public services. Only co-ordinated strikes and street demonstrations will help us to win. Let’s start with the small things we can do to back the strikers.”
Small steps you can take to support the strikers
Go to your local picket line
Display a poster in your window backing the strikers