Tens of thousands of workers could go on strike in the coming months in the battle for better pay, a union leader has warned.
In Sharon Graham’s first year as general secretary of Unite, the union’s members have fought for better pay in more than 450 disputes.
Unite said eight out of 10 have been won, securing £150 million in new wages and benefits for union members, with 76,000 members taking industrial action to secure the wins.
Ms Graham said: “The two words that unite all the individual strikes taking place are ‘pay cuts’.
“Workers are simply no longer prepared to accept poverty wages, especially when they know employer after employer is guilty of rampant profiteering.
“Since I was elected, 76,000 Unite members have taken industrial action in pay disputes. That’s put £150 million more in their pay packets.
“There could be hundreds of disputes involving tens of thousands of workers over the coming months if employers continue to offer real terms wage cuts presented as pay increases.
“Summer of discontent? We’ve had the spring, summer, autumn and winter of discontent with austerity every single season.”
She added: “Calls for wage restraint by companies who are fuelling soaring prices are contemptible.
“It’s time to stop telling workers to pay the price for inflation and instead do something to tackle excessive profiteering.
“Unite makes no apologies for backing workers fighting for a better deal. If employers can pay, they should pay. If they won’t pay, eventually they will pay when Unite organises the fightback.”