Thousands guy anger on streets of London over

Thousands of people from all walks of life have marched through the British capital London amid mounting public anger at the government’s response to the rising cost of the living crisis.

Workers, families, and pensioners along community organizations joined the Trades Union Congress (TUC), one of the largest national trade unions, to demand the government take action.

The TUC arranged the huge demonstration in central London. The march kicked off from Portland Place and ended at Parliament Square. A couple of political figures were among the participants.

Banners at the protest read slogans such as “cut war not welfare”, in reference to the UK spending billions of pounds on foreign military adventures abroad, while cutting welfare aid to low-income households back at home.

Banners like “end fuel poverty, insulate homes now” were also on display amid record energy prices that are preventing families from using energy at home amid surging prices.

Other notable placards read “nurses not nukes”, in reference to the UK’s extremely costly nuclear weapons program. This is while the country’s National Health Service staff dealt with a Covid pandemic, one of the deadliest in Europe, with a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The PPE finally arrived for exhausted staff and nurses but the appropriate pay rise for their frontline dead services did not arrive.

Those who took part in March called for pay increases in their wages amid record inflation not seen in 40 years.

The TUC says working people have had enough. Everything’s going up but our wages. “Ministers partied while people died. It’s time for a new deal for working people. We need help with energy bills and a real pay rise for every worker.”

Among the TUC demands are:

-A real pay rise for every worker and a real living wage for all.

-Respect and security for all workers, ban (controversial) zero-hours contracts, and decent sick pay.

-End racism at work

-Tax energy profits to pay our bills

-Raise universal credit (The UK’s welfare system)

-Boost union bargaining rights now

-A government that listens and acts to support working people.

The Union says “with a Prime Minister who is more concerned with his own job security than anybody else’s, and a Chancellor who spends more heating his swimming pool than a minimum wage worker earns in a year, it’s time for change.”

The TUC has also slammed “austerity, benefit cuts and attacks on unions” saying they “have held our living standards back.”

It claims that “just last week, the PM warned workers against bargaining for higher pay”.

The pressures facing families are getting worse. It now costs more than £100 to fill a family car, with many low-paid workers no longer able to drive to work or drive their children to school. Energy bills are set to rise 23 times quicker than wages.

Politicians including the Scottish National Party that launched a campaign for independence a few days ago say next year’s economic forecasts predict zero economic growth in the United Kingdom. That would mark the worst economic outlook among the “G20 industrial nations”.

Several trade unions have warned of industrial action if the government doesn’t take real measures to increase wages to meet rising inflation levels.

Among them is the TUC which says “standing up for working people is what we do. And that includes workers who feel they have no alternative but to vote for industrial action to win fair treatment.”

The growing unrested among trade unions has triggered speculation of a national strike. Union leaders at GMB and Unison (arguably the biggest union in the UK) suggested they are ready to coordinate strike action if the living crisis escalates.

Transport unions RMT, the TSSA, and Aslef have already called for multiple strikes this summer with National Railway workers set to walk out.

National Rail, ScotRail, Transport for London, and Heathrow Airport are all set to go on strike. The industrial action will hit transport operators as early as this week in what could be the biggest dispute since 1989.

At the end of the protest rally at Westminster in Central London, the heart of British politics, the General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, was among the key speakers and delivered a passionate speech.

To applause and cheers from the crowd, she launched a vicious attack on the British Prime Minister.

“Let me say this to Boris Johnson – don’t you dare shift the blame for inflation onto working people,” she told the protesters.

“Don’t you dare, not after a decade of austerity, privatization, and pay cuts. Don’t you dare tell working families we have to put up with more pain?”

Earlier, PM Boris Johnson said Britain would get through the crisis and “come through on the other side strongly”

O’Grady accused the Prime Minister of “cynically abandoning” his commitment to a high-wage economy.
“The last thing we need right now is for wages to be held down.” She said.

“We cannot be a country where nurses have to use food banks to get by.”

“Prices are sky-rocketing, yet boardroom bonuses are back to bumper levels. Everyone who works for a living deserves to earn a decent living, but UK workers are suffering the longest and harshest squeeze on their earnings in modern history.”

Workers have lost an average of almost £20,000 in cumulative earnings since 2008 because pay has not kept pace with inflation, the TUC says, adding that it was the biggest loss of “real wages” since the 1830s.

O’Grady went on to say “If we don’t get pay rising across the economy, we will just keep lurching from crisis to crisis.. this cost-of-living emergency has not come out of the blue. It is the result of more than a decade of standstill wages.”

The TUC has repeatedly warned the government not to put responsibility for the living crisis on workers.

The TUC said there was “harrowing” evidence of the impact of the crisis on families, with workers suffering the “longest and harshest” squeeze on earnings in modern history.

O’Grady said it was “gut-wrenching” to hear how workers were struggling, with no safety net to fall back on and the pay slump showing little sign of slowing.

She also told British media that the ruling Conservative Party were now the “party of pay cuts”, accusing the government of turning its back on those who made such “extraordinary sacrifices” by continuing to work during the Covid crisis.

According to recently released data from the Office for National Statistics, public sector workers, including those in the health sector, teachers, and council workers have taken the greatest hit to their pay packets, with wages rising by just 1.5 percent compared with the same period last year.

In comparison, those in the private sector saw pay rises on average of eight percent.

For what is considered a wealthy country, British workers in the public sector who keep the economy going and provide the most vital of services, are not seeing their wages rise in line with inflation. Quite the opposite, they have received the lowest pay rise on the spectrum.

This is while salaries, bonuses, and rewards given to the directors of big banks and large businesses remarkably rise at times of economic crises.

During the 2008 global financial crisis, it was the banks that instigated the economic hardship
British public. Yet the banks were bailed out by the UK government with hundreds of billions of pounds from taxpayers’ money while the rest of society suffered and picked up the pieces.

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