Unions pledge to “do whatever is necessary” to defend workers following record decline in real terms wages

With workers being squeezed, unions are committed to fighting back

Unite balloons being flown at a TUC march

Figures released from the Office for National Statistics have shown that real terms pay fell by 3 per cent between April and June. The decline is a result of inflation far outstripping wage growth. The real terms decline is the fastest since comparable records began in 2001.

The country’s trade unions have responded with a commitment to fight to defend the pay of workers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said that her union will continue to “do whatever is necessary” to protect workers. She said, “This record fall in real wages demonstrates the vital need for unions like Unite to defend the value of workers’ pay. It also underlines the fact that – as we have said many times – wages are not driving inflation. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to defend jobs, pay and conditions during this cost-of-living crisis.”

Gary Smith, general secretary of GMB criticised employers for failing to pay their workers properly. He singled out Amazon, which caused controversy after offering workers a 35p hourly pay rise. He said, “Today’s record drop in real wages shows big business needs to get real on pay. A 35p hourly rise from a company that made billions during a pandemic is a joke. The best way to get a proper pay rise is to join a trade union and GMB will keep fighting to make work better for our members all across the country.” 

The TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady demanded action from government to tackle the cost of living crisis. She said, “Everyone who works deserves financial security. But with the Bank of England predicting the worst decline in real pay for 100 years, energy bills soaring and a recession on the horizon, millions of working families are worried they won’t be able to keep their heads above water this winter. 

“We need action from ministers now. They should cancel the increase to the energy price cap. And they must do far more to get pay rising – starting with boosting the minimum wage this autumn and giving public sector workers a decent pay rise.” 

The UCU – which is conducting a national ballot for strike action in higher education – tweeted today, “Inflation and the cost of living is soaring but wages are falling. Our members need a proper pay rise and university employers have the cash to give it.”

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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