Rising cost of living sparks massive protests in UK and Ireland — Analysis
On Saturday thousands marched through London, accusing government officials of not doing enough to address the rising costs of living. Similar rallies took place across Ireland, in cities that are experiencing the same problems.
Demonstrators marched from Portland Place to Parliament Square in the British capital, where Trade Unions Congress (TUC) leader Frances O’Grady blamed decades of austerity policies for rising costs and wage stagnation.
“Prices are skyrocketing, yet boardroom bonuses are back to bumper levels,”The crowd was captivated by her words. “Everyone who works for a living deserves to earn a decent living, but UK workers are suffering the longest and harshest squeeze on their earnings in modern history.”
“If we don’t get pay rising across the economy, we will just keep lurching from crisis to crisis. It is not an unexpected cost-of-living emergency. It is the result of more than a decade of standstill wages.”
The TUC claims that the average British worker has lost £11,800 ($14,426) in real earnings since 2008, as pay has not risen to match inflation.
There was a wide range of protestors: Labour Party supporters, communists and climate activist, with the latter holding signs requesting that Britain’s government insulate homes across the country to offset the heat. “fuel poverty.”After Russia launched its military operations in Ukraine, in February 2018, Prime Minister Boris Johnson cut Britain’s oil imports from Russia. Fuel prices have increased dramatically since then.
Britons pay higher prices for gasoline and diesel now than they have ever paid before. Inflation reached an all-time high of 9% in April and food prices are expected to rise by 15%. A recent Office for Budget Responsibility report has stated that the rate of household income declines at the fastest speed since 1950s record keeping began. Brits will see the largest drop in living standards in over 50 years.
A large contingent of National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers brought a marching band to the demonstration. The union had announced earlier on Saturday that it would hold the largest London Underground strikes in 30 years next week, after negotiations failed with the metro network’s operator over pay and benefits.
Simultaneous protests occurred organizedIn many Irish cities including Dublin, Galway, and Cork. Ireland is also seeing an increase in food and fuel costs, and the country has also experienced a housing shortage.
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