Our fight for higher pay isn’t over!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
29 November 2023

So the food profiteers have been...  profiteering!  Yup, at the expense of “consumers” - all of us - and during the worst cost of living crisis since WW2.  

     “Their prices went up more than their costs”, says a just-published report from the government’s watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, or CMA.  Well, this is hardly a surprise!

    We are told that these price rises contributed to overall inflation, along with the rise in the cost of energy, petrol and diesel, and rents and mortgages. . .  And still does.  The rise in the price of food and non-alcoholic drinks in March this year reached the 45-year high of 19.2%.  But this October, the rise in prices in the 4 weeks to 29 October was 9.7%!  So inflation, while not roaring, is still very much growling.

    The media loves these stories.  They accuse the well-known brands of putting pressure on “struggling households”, and in particular the makers of baby formula, for which there may not have been cheaper alternatives in Lidl or Aldi...

    In fact Danone and Nestle dominate the infant formula market, holding, between them 85%.  In the last two years they increased their prices by 25% and made a killing.  So the CMA has announced that it now wants “households” to know they can actually buy cheaper brands.  Thanks a lot!

    But of course the “households” which the CMA and the media pretend to sympathise with, are working class people.  And many of them have been fighting for pay rises which would allow them to catch up with these ever-rising prices!

    And the bosses, shareholders and the government refuse to pay them what they need.  As soon as they go on strike, these workers are no longer seen as members of “struggling households” who must be sympathised with, but the “enemy”!

    So there’s still no resolution to the pay struggle: today, railway workers are offered a 5% rise, when even the “halved” inflation figure is 6.1% RPI...  And by the way, they’ve had no increase in pay for 4 years!

    When it comes to “enemies”, railway workers - but also all other workers - can be sure about who it is they are confronting.  And sure too, that their struggle over pay will have to be renewed in the year to come.