Rapid inflation in the UK deepens confrontation between Boris Johnson and unions | Economie

Boris Johnson’s government this week found a surprise that encouraged him to be resolute in his fight with unions: The successful experiment with remote work from home, imposed during the long months of the pandemic, has helped lower expectations dramatically. chaos in The biggest public transport strike of the past 30 years. “The first data shows that, unlike in the past, many people now have the opportunity to work from home. There was not even congestion on the roads. Unions have not achieved the global impact they aspire to,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport said. The United States is now 9.1%, according to data released on Tuesday. The highest number in four decades. The Bank of England is already calculating that it could end up at 11% at the end of the year. The British prime minister, as he made clear to members of his government, is determined to “continue the path” Faced with the challenge of labor conflict, he was convinced of the need to prevent uncontrolled wage increase for public sector workers from worsening the situation.

The strike plan, approved by 40,000 members of the Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT), means a practical complete halt on Tuesday, as well as next Thursday and Saturday. Affects the network operated by the public company The railway network and thirteen private operators. The shorter hours in between, and fewer preparatory tasks for the night-shift staff, ensured that the chaos continued throughout the week.

Traffic in London was noticeably heavier than usual throughout Tuesday, and long queues at bus stops were frequent. Subway workers also went on strike that day for the same reasons: salary increases that allow them to weather the current cost-of-living crisis.

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This Wednesday, the company and the union agreed to come to the negotiating table again. RMT representatives are demanding a 7% salary increase. Network Rail offers a 3% throughput increase. But it does warn of the need to “modernize old business practices” – for example, ticket offices, with virtually no activity – which would mean firing 1,900 people. The Federation refuses to talk about anything other than voluntary and incentivized termination.

Do not enter directly

Johnson’s government has so far resisted calls for direct involvement in the negotiations, despite the fact that Network Rail is a public company and the money to support the rest of the private operators comes from the budget. If we want to make huge investments [en la red ferroviaria]As it is our duty, reforms must be introduced. And I am already warning the whole country: we need to stand firm and not change course,” the prime minister told members of his government, but also citizens, because he allowed cameras into a room that would normally be objected to by this rhetoric.

Johnson is torn between political opportunity and economic necessity. Public education teachers, nursing staff, doctors or municipal and postal service workers are considering joining the rail strike. The Secretary-General of the UK’s largest trade union, TUC, has already warned the government that it could face serious problems if it decides to turn this dispute into a political confrontation. “I’ve been asked many times if we could eventually take coordinated action, and I wouldn’t rule it out,” Frances O’Grady said. The Conservative government, convinced that public opinion would end up on its side, even plans to promote incendiary legislation that would allow railway companies to replace strikers with personnel from external placement agencies (similar to ETTs in Spain). “There have already been laws against this maneuver since 1973, and not even Margaret Thatcher dared go that far,” she warned. number two From TUC, Paul Nowak. “This kind of action prolongs the conflict and makes it more bitter,” he said.

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Although a majority of citizens initially supported the railroad strike – 58% believed it was justified, according to a Savanta Comres survey – support among those over 55 and among Conservative voters is much lower (44% and 38%, respectively) than That of young and working voters (72% and 79%). Johnson is playing against his parish, and he is very disappointed in it Downing Street party scandal during lockdown, This usually shows his refusal before any strike.

But the economic component, and the fear of accelerating inflation, carry their weight in the current situation. “It is fair to compensate public sector employees who have worked hard [durante la pandemia] With salary increases, but it must be proportionate and balanced,” Johnson said, in line with the Bank of England’s claims. The British Prime Minister warned that “high levels of persistent inflation for a long time will affect the pockets of citizens in the long term and will end private savings and increase the difficulties we face.” Now.” Johnson is determined to put his foot down to the discontent of many workers with the absolute cost of living crisis, and prepares to withstand what the media is predicting will be a “summer of discontent.”

“Our subsidiaries are led by the rest of the workers in this country who are tired of taking pay cuts because of the combination of big business profits and current government policy” from the rail strike, said Mick Lynch, general secretary of RMT, the union at the fore.

work dilemma

Labor leader Keir Starmer who He has tried for the past three years to flick off the image with moderate rhetoric too far to the left of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn., knows that strikes are a minefield. The power of the unions in the main opposition party in financing their activity, nurturing their cadres, mobilizing the bases and choosing the leadership is enormous. But the sit-in’s image is devastating to middle-class voters. Starmer prevented his team from getting close to them, but at least three of his senior lawmakers — members of the party leadership — took pictures on Tuesday with the sit-ins, which they posted on their Twitter accounts. More than fifteen irresponsible deputies in the formation also expressed their support for the strikers. “No one takes it lightly, but I will always defend the absolute right of everyone to defend fair work,” the statement said. number two by Starmer, Angela Rayner. His origin of Corbynism does not prevent him from acknowledging his apparent loyalty to the current leader, but he sometimes plays the role of bridge between the two spirits of action.

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Meanwhile, conservatives are exploiting their opponents’ internal rupture. The Minister of Justice, Dominic Raab, with a certain direction to riot Politician, he accused Labor of “actively promoting all harassment suffered by users”.

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