Post: Millions of Britons quit their jobs

Millions of workers in Great Britain are taking a stand today: they are striking for higher wages, better working conditions and the right to strike.

In the biggest strike in decades, the “winter of discontent” in Great Britain has reached its first peak today. It is estimated that half a million workers left their jobs in a wide variety of industries. Above all, they are demonstrating for significantly higher wage increases, but also for better working conditions and the right to spontaneous strike.

British threatened to stop

Seven unions coordinated the national day of protest and urged their members to take industrial action. A recession is looming over much of the UK. Downing Street warned of “significant disruption”.

What is the UK suffering from? Workers have been on strike repeatedly for weeks. No way out:

Teachers and train drivers, university professors and government workers, bus drivers and security guards are on strike at the same time. The dissatisfaction is huge in all sectors. The National Education Union assumes that teaching in 85 per cent of schools in England and Wales will be affected – more than 100,000 teachers want to strike.

Call for strike in 124 state institutions

Education Minister Gillian Keegan stated that talks with unions are ongoing. He told Times Radio this morning about the strike:

I regret that the unions took this decision (…). This is not the last resort.

Gillian Keegan, UK Education Minister

In addition to the teachers’ union, the public sector union PCS has urged nearly 100,000 members in 124 government institutions to drop out. More strikes were announced in the coming days. Another headache for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s conservative government is the recent vote by firefighters to go on strike.

Demand: inflation-driven wage increase

The strikers are united primarily by the demand for an inflationary increase in their wages. Consumer prices have increased by ten percent recently. For example, the government offers teachers five percent more salaries. The NEW teachers’ union complained very little, emphasizing that:

It’s not about salary increases, it’s about fixing historic cuts in real wages.

British Teachers’ Union NEW

The industrial action of healthcare workers has been going on for some time:

Altar refuses to renegotiate

The government refuses to renegotiate. Prime Minister Sunak emphasized that his door is always open to negotiations. However, this does not seem to apply to salary negotiations. The 42-year-old has repeatedly warned that a rise in line with inflation will only fuel a “vicious cycle” of ever-rising consumer prices.

Employee discontent is also fueled by a controversial government project. Altar and finance minister Grant Shapps are fed up with the constant labor dispute since last summer and want to pass legislation restricting the right to strike. Altar argues that this should provide essential services.

The right to strike will be severely restricted

Shapps defended his draft, which offered a fair balance between the right to strike and the needs of the people.

People are not free to choose when they need an ambulance or a fire department.

Grant Shapps, UK Trade Minister

On Monday, the Tories-dominated House of Commons passed the bill in a third reading. But resistance is expected in the upper house. Labor Vice President Angela Rayner calls the law “fire the nurses’ draft,” and it’s apparently getting on her nerves. The majority in the polls support the strikers. In the eyes of many, the government is responsible for the chaos.

Because of the cost of the livelihood crisis, these strikes can no longer be portrayed as ideology driven, …

James Frayne, People First

… says James Frayne of the consulting firm Public First. Instead, he explains on his “Politico” online portal that the perceived stubbornness of the government is driving the poll numbers down. The Labor Party has held the lead for months and shows no signs of reversal. From now on, Conservatives should fear a rout in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2024.

Still, Altar will not surrender, my party friends. “We have to get on our nerves,” one Tory MP was quoted by Politico. Inflation will continue to fall soon, thus reducing the pressure on consumers. “So we have to stay as tough as possible.”

Source: ZDF

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