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‘Crisis of income’

Unite: current inflation levels continue to threaten living standards of millions
UniteLive, Wednesday, September 14th, 2022


Unite has warned that temporary dip in headline inflation will be cold comfort for working families who face continued stagnating wages at a time when company profits are soaring.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported today (September 14) that CPI inflation eased to 9.9 per cent in the year to August, down from 10.1 per cent in the 12 months to July, caused mainly by falling petrol and diesel prices.

But the RPI rate of inflation, which Unite considers a more accurate figure, has remained unchanged from July, standing at an astonishing 12.3 per cent.

Despite the fall in CPI inflation, food inflation continues to skyrocket, with food prices rising at the fastest rate in 27 years in August, fuelled mainly by a rise in basic food items such as eggs, milk, bread and cereals. Other items which saw price increases include vegetables, meat and chocolate.

Commenting on the latest inflation figures, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Rocketing inflation may have been eased last month but that won’t last. Current levels continue to threaten the living standards of millions of workers. 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.”

Indeed, recent estimates show that energy companies alone – which are profiting from the war in Ukraine – expect to see £170bn in excess profits over the next two years. Despite these eye-watering sums, the Conservative government has so far ruled out a windfall tax on profits.

Meanwhile, UK workers wages’ continue to be squeezed. The latest data shows that real wages fell by 2.8 per cent in the three months to July, only slightly less than over the same period to June, when real wages fell by 3 per cent.

Unite continues to fight the erosion of members’ living standards by taking a stand against attacks on their pay through workplace organising, negotiation and industrial action. Recent strikes announced include strikes at Felixstowe Port, aerospace firm Honeywell and bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, among others.

By Hajera Blagg

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