Let’s not wait: a strike for higher pay is urgently needed!

15 February 2022

By now the public is used to government lies, whether over the EU, Covid, Ukraine, or indeed, the state of the economy.  So no, Britain hasn’t got the “fastest growing economy in the G7" - as Johnson boasts - and neither are more people employed than before the pandemic.  In fact 600,000 fewer are actually in jobs.

    That said, there certainly is “record” growth happening: workers are experiencing the highest jump in the cost of living in decades!

    And right now, no worker is getting a “real” pay rise, no matter what union leaders, like Unite’s Graham, might say about the “leverage” they’re using against bosses due to the (mainly Brexit-related) relative shortage of labour...  In fact pay rises are seriously lagging behind price rises: the Retail Price Index, already 7.5%, may reach 10% by April.

     Worse, for those on low pay or unemployed, benefit increases are based on September 2021’s inflation figure of 3.1%!

    As for Sunak’s £200 "help" with the 54% (£693) increase in energy costs (in fact a repayable loan!), this is really a subsidy to energy companies. In the meantime, NICs go up this April, cutting another £200+ off pay.  Then there's the £20/m Universal Credit Uplift which the low-paid and unemployed lost, last October.  All this means many more families not just choosing between eating and heating, but starving and freezing.

    Meanwhile, oil and gas companies, BP and Shell, just announced their highest profits (£24bn) in 8 years.  Shell is planning to hand back more than £6bn to shareholders immediately!  Yes, making the rich even richer.

    Government and media blame high energy prices on "lack of supply" or even blame Russia, which provides 40% of Europe's natural gas (but just 5% of Britain's).  Anything to avoid pointing the finger at the real culprits, profiteering bosses of oil, gas and energy companies which deliberately raised prices.

    What can the working class do about it?  Well, it can turn the bosses’ worst nightmares into reality: organise its full forces - within and across all sections and industries - to fight for higher pay.  Because together, no question, workers could win.