Inflation up again – pay battles must continue

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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

I support my postie
I support my postal worker

Make a small contribution to a strike fund

Wear a badge or T-shirt backing the strikers

Inflation rise may leave workers out of pocket

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Inflation will hit workers in the pocket if they don’t fight for wage increases

Workers will suffer as inflation rises to the highest level in three decades. Workers will be left out of pocket if they don’t secure above-inflation wage rises.


The retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation reached 7.1 percent last month, the highest level in 30 years. It was six percent in October.
Disruption to supply chains and increasing fuel prices have inflated the cost of living, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday.


Prices rose across the board for essential items, and services such as transport, food, energy, housing costs and clothing are all going up.


Petrol prices stand at the highest ever recorded, averaging 145.8p per litre. Used car prices have also gone up 31.3 percent since April.


Current estimates by the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggest that costs for the typical family will jump by £1,700 in 2022.


Less than a six percent rise means a pay cut.


The banks and bosses favoured measure of inflation, customer price index (CPI), records the cost of 700 items but excludes housing-related costs, unlike RPI.


They use this figure to deny workers a wage that reflects the actual cost of inflation.
CPI currently stands at 5.1 percent.


High inflation has real-life consequences, and it hits the poor hardest. Workers on a set wage contract will have to cut spending, as their money won’t go as far.


Those claiming benefits will also suffer as most benefits have not kept up with the inflation rate.
Inflation continues to rise faster than pay. This means most workers will face a real-terms pay cut.


The labour market report outlined that basic pay growth slumped to just 4.3 percent per year from August to October.


During the last ONS inflation report, Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Workers’ wages will have to at least match the inflation rate because otherwise, they will be facing a calamitous drop in their standard of living.”


Sharon Graham has now renewed Unite’s pledge to barter for an above-inflation pay rise saying, “Today’s figures mean our members must fight for wage rises above the current rate of inflation, as measured by the RPI.”


Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, said: “all unions must fight for wage increases that keep pace with inflation.”

Image by Darko Djurin from Pixabay

Hard work should pay

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Here at Solidarity, we believe that people who work hard should be valued and paid accordingly.

Yet, sadly, that’s often not the case. In work poverty is a real problem. It’s not helped by many public workers in the NHS, Councils, etc being given poor wage rises. Zero-hour contracts and minimum wage jobs in the private sector are also to blame. There are so many factors that prevent workers from earning a decent living and giving them the respect that they deserve.

Now the situation may get worse. 

Union leaders are warning that workers’ pay will suffer after the Bank of England predicted a surge in inflation to the highest level for a decade.

According to the bank’s latest economic forecasts, inflation, currently running at 2.5 percent, will rise to 4 percent at the end of the year as the British economy recovers from the pandemic.

This would be double the bank’s inflation target and the highest level since the end of 2011.

TUC deputy general secretary Paul Nowak said: “The report from the Bank of England shows what unions, NHS staff, key workers, and the public have warned – the government is cutting the real-terms pay of millions of workers.

Lots of workers will find that prices are rising faster than their pay, especially those working in the public sector and other key workers who kept us going through the pandemic – like care workers, refuse collectors, and public health staff.

Keyworker pay is the acid test for the Prime Minister’s promise to ‘build back fairer.’ Every key worker deserves a decent standard of living for their family. But too often, their hard work does not pay. We owe them better.