How the living standards crisis is driving strike action

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Boris Johnson has denounced the rail strikes, which will begin today (June 21) and will be the biggest in more than 30 years, as “wrong and unnecessary”.

Polls show significant support among segments of the British publicHowever, an analysis of wage data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) helps explain why anger over wages is rising among workers, one of the main triggers for strikes organized this week by the RMT union. Since 2010, wages in the private sector have increased by 4.3%, adjusted for inflation, while wages in the public sector have decreased by 4.4%.


The cost-of-living crisis and the highest inflation rate in 40 years (currently 9 percent) exacerbate the effects of long-term wage declines.

Public sector workers, including doctors, nurses and teachers, have warned they may also go on strike. The Criminal Lawyers’ Association, representing the lawyers of England and Wales, voted to strike next week due to cuts in legal aid funding.

“Every worker in Britain deserves a pay rise that reflects the cost of living crisis,” RMT said in a statement. “All workers should benefit from good contractual conditions, working methods and occupational pensions that will ensure their standard of living in retirement.”

[See also: Blaming Labour for the rail strikes could backfire on the government]

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