Beat the Cost of Living Crisis
-Support the Strikes!
ALL WORKERS NEED A COST OF LIVING INCREASE NOW!
“Don’t tell us to not to demand a pay rise
when inflation has hit 14% RPI!”
“Sheffield TUC will continue to give maximum solidarity support to workers taking strike action in the face of an unprecedented cost of living crisis” said Martin Mayer Secretary Sheffield Trade Union Council. “This week it’s the turn of RMT rail workers, CWU Royal Mail workers, RCN Nurses and UNITE Shelter workers, and supporters will be joining picket lines and collecting money to support the strikes” he said.
RMT rail workers to stage 48-hour strikes from this week:
Tuesday 13th/ Wednesday 14th December and Friday 16th/Saturday 17th December
Until last week, rail workers had received no pay offer at all for 2022, and have had no pay increase for 3 years. Negotiations only delivered a 4% pay offer but that was conditional on huge changes to terms and conditions including Driver Only Trains on all services, closure of all ticket offices and other cuts, which the RMT has refused. RMT recently re-balloted its members for strike action and received an overwhelming mandate. Everyone knows it’s the Government that is holding back the Train Operators from settling this dispute, yet refuse to negotiate directly with the union. Where the Government is not involved, settlements have been reached e.g. ScotRail, Welsh Rail and the direct access train operators.
Royal Mail CWU strikes
Royal Mail members have had an unagreed 2 per cent pay deal imposed on them. This was at a time when RPI inflation was running at 11.8% (it is now 14.5%) and when Royal Mail had announced Group profits of £758 million – of which most was paid out in dividends to private shareholders! In a national strike ballot over pay, Royal Mail CWU members voted by a massive 97.6 per cent majority to take action. CWU members have also voted by 98.7% on a 72.2% turnout for strike action in defence of the “Pathway to Change” national agreement. The Royal Mail company leadership has reneged on the Pathway to Change agreement’s Key Principles and has begun to impose changes without negotiation and without agreement, with serious adverse consequences for working conditions. CWU repos have faced bullying and harassment by management with many reps unfairly suspended, and the company is one of the first to use new Tory laws to allow agency workers to break strikes.
UNITE Shelter Workers are on 2 weeks solid strike
These dedicated social care sector workers do marvelous work helping the homeless struggle against a scandalous social housing crisis in the UK. But this well-respected charity has offered a paltry 3% to its workers in spite of a massive £14.5M reserve of funds that could easily finance a proper cost of living pay rise.
Commenting on the decision to go on strike, one member of Shelter’s staff said: “The work we undertake, particularly in frontline services, is so valuable and clients depend on our teams. But that shouldn’t mean they have to sacrifice a decent and dignified living because the work they are drawn to is in this sector. At the very base level, absolute bare minimum, those working for a housing charity shouldn’t be experiencing housing insecurity as a result of being unable to pay rent.” Another added: “I really care about the work and I think it’s recognised that I work hard – but I don’t feel right now my employer cares about me. I’m a single parent. I’m now in overdraft every month, I go around switching my lights off, I have turned my boiler down, I get stressed when the kids school wants me to pay for another school trip. The best acknowledgement my employer can give me for all my hard work is decent pay.”
RCN Nurses strike on 15th December (but not in Sheffield -nearest strike is in Nottingham)
The NHS is one of the best things about our country and it is falling apart due to massive austerity cuts over the last 12 years. Britain now has fewer hospitals and a huge loss of beds – Germany has three times the number of beds per head of population than we do. Severe staff shortages make the situation even worse, and a collapsed social care sector when too many sick and elderly people are stuck in hospital with nowhere else to go. Seven million people are waiting for NHS operations. Patients are stuck in the back of queuing ambulances. Nursing staff make up more than half of the NHS workforce, and they are pushed to breaking point. Care is not safe and patients are paying the price. For the first time in history, nurses are left with no choice but to go on strike. Unfair pay is forcing too many to leave. Over 25,000 nurses left last year alone. Without nursing staff, there will be no NHS. Nursing staff always speak up for patients – now we are speaking up for the nurses.
COST OF LIVING CRISIS, WAGE RISE AND STRIKES
“Workers cannot afford another cut to their living standards after 12 years of austerity and stagnant /falling real incomes,” said Martin Mayer. “The current cost of living crisis is causing severe hardship across our communities and with RPI inflation now nearly 15%, millions of households face hunger and unheated homes this winter. We totally reject the Tories’ notion that cost of living increases will damage the economy. Britain is the 5th wealthiest country in the world but the wealth is not distributed fairly. If working class communities are made poorer still, then the economy will suffer from collapsing demand for goods and services. We demand a proper pay rise now for all workers. If you are not in a union, join one now!” concluded Martin Mayer