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

All workers deserve rights

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The Court of Appeal has ruled that Deliveroo drivers cannot have collective bargaining rights because they are not workers.

The judgment again highlights the need for one category of worker, “worker” with all enjoying the same rights to paid holidays, sick pay, and collective bargaining (to mention just a few rights).
The Deliveroo case was brought by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) which represents many Deliveroo drivers. The IWGB had applied for but that was rejected in 2017 on the basis that because riders can pass a job on to a substitute they should not be classed as workers.


After the High Court also ruled in favour of the company, the union appealed, claiming that the denial of collective bargaining breached the couriers’ human rights.


IWGB president Alex Marshall said: “Deliveroo couriers have been working on the front line of the pandemic and, whilst being applauded by the public and even declared heroes by their employer, they have been working under increasingly unfair and unsafe working conditions.
“It appears that when Deliveroo talks about flexibility and being your own boss, it is talking about the flexibility of choosing when to make poverty wages and work in unsafe conditions.”


Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: “Unions will continue to organise within Deliveroo, Amazon, and those others who seek to block them. Increasingly unions are mobilising public opinion behind their campaigns for workers’ rights. We will see in the coming years that companies who fail to give rights to their workers will be penalised by consumer boycotts and political action.”