No wage rise? Strike together!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
22 September 2021

Wages are up, say Johnson and Raab? One has to wonder which planet they live on! Johnson even had the cheek to tell the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that thanks to the national “living” wage (£8.91 per hour, IF you are over 25!), working people should have no problem putting food on the table...

    The Financial Times reported this week that the real average pay rise (including boardrooms) is under 2.4% - very far from the 7-8% which some (ignorant) commentators claim. That’s below inflation.

    Atop a skyscraper in New York, after mouthing off about his great achievements ahead of his COP26 Glasgow beano, Johnson suggested that anyone “struggling” could get a better job and work longer hours... Yup, since there are now so many (well-paid!) jobs on offer!

    Just how would a low-paid single parent increase his/her hours of work, pay for child care and manage - and without that extra (measly) £20/w Universal Credit into the bargain!? 

    The re-opened economy and (supposed) shortage of workers hasn’t resulted in better jobs and wages. Quite the opposite: the railways are cutting jobs left, right and centre, in preparation for the “big launch” of their reinvented rail privatisation - so-called “Great British Railways”.

    Transport Secretary Shapps wants to grab back the over £12bn he put straight into the pockets of private rail bosses, when he took over the full cost of the service during Covid.

    And now railway workers are to pay for it with their jobs and a pay freeze? Abellio Scotrail engineers (among many other “essential” workers) who not only worked through the pandemic, but worked rest days to make up for the shortage of hands are now denied any rise. So they’ve banned overtime and are taking industrial action - for now, short of strike...

    Stagecoach bus drivers and cleaners are voting to strike. This company made £58.4m profit this year, took the Emergency Measures “bonus” from the DfT and yet it hasn’t given workers a pay rise for 2 years!

    Wage freezes or below inflation pay offers are the order of the day - whether in the NHS, transport, distribution, manufacture, food processing or retail.

    But workers have common cause. The little strikes demanding decent pay popping up here and there could become a great wave, which the bosses wouldn’t be able to stop, if workers decided to turn this common cause into a common strike - all out, together, everywhere...