The living standards of workers are still being hit by the cost-of-living crisis, say unions, with little sign that the latest inflation figures will halt the threat of growing industrial unrest in the coming months.
Union leaders pointed to the RPI rate of inflation, which was unchanged at 12.3% in August, and is still being quoted by unions as an example of how prices are soaring.
Unite has announced another eight-day strike at the port of Felixstowe, saying a 7% rise plus £500 effectively a pay cut, and similar arguments are being made in other disputes.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Rocketing inflation may have eased last month but that won’t last. Current levels continue to threaten the living standards of millions of workers.
New strikes have been announced in the Felixstowe port dispute after workers overwhelmingly rejected management’s attempt to impose a pay deal that with the current real inflation rate (RPI) is a sizeable pay cut.#SupporttheStrike #DockersDemandBetterhttps://t.co/FumRn8lb8u pic.twitter.com/idvb9CIJjg
— Unite London & Eastern (@UniteLondonEast) September 13, 2022
“This is now a crisis of income. Only the rich and powerful are protected. It’s time for the rest of us to organise into trade unions and take back our share of the corporate profits we create.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Inflation is still very high and hitting family budgets hard. The Chancellor’s mini budget next week should use the power of Government to help with surging costs this winter.
“He should fund a proper cost-of-living increase for public sector workers. He should bring forward an immediate increase to the minimum wage this autumn, and he should boost universal credit now, instead of waiting until April for the next rise.”
The Resolution Foundation said the cost-of-living gap between high and low income households has increased, with the poorest tenth of households experiencing an average inflation rate of 10.6%, compared to 9% for the richest tenth.
We’ve published Producer price inflation, UK: August 2022 https://t.co/Te5ibSvD7n
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) September 14, 2022
Jack Leslie, senior economist at the think tank, said: “High inflation continues to drive Britain’s cost-of-living crisis, but the outlook has brightening considerably over the past week.
“The Energy Price Guarantee should prevent a second winter surge in prices, while factory gate inflation is starting to ease.
“However, high inflation is set to be with us for some time, particularly for (people on) low income who continue to be hit hardest by high prices.
“Having delivered £2,200 worth of cost-of-living support for every household this year, the Government will need to consider what support will be needed next year too.”