It may be a summer of discontent brewing in the UK and the European continent. With raging inflation, traditional union powers are gearing up to respond and demand higher wages for their workers.
Britain is in the midst of a snarling traffic catastrophe as the nation is hit by strikes. Around 40,000 rail staff are demanding a 7% pay rise. Amid the ongoing rail strike, only 20% of the train services are running. RMT union said that talks are underway, but further strikes are possible. See this in the video report below.
Striking rail workers are asking for a 7% pay rise, despite CPI inflation at 9.1% and RPI at 11.7%. , But they are only being offered 3% by the Department for Transport (DfT). NHS workers and teachers have also threatened to walk out if the government doesn’t up their pay deals.
The French want to get in on the act as well. French rail unions have called for a national day of strike action to demand wage increases. The national rail strike is planned for Wednesday, July 6th, the day before French schools break up for the summer.
Three of the biggest rail unions – CFDT, Sud-Rail, and CGT – have joined the strike call, while a fourth, Unsa, is set to announce whether it will join next week. They are demanding wage increases to help their members cope with the cost of living crisis, saying: “Railway workers are being hit hard, and are suffering a clear and sharp decline in their purchasing power.
Labor strikes will be European-wide as major airlines are set to get hit by labor actions as well. Trade unions in Europe that represent employees of the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair “are calling on flight attendants … to stop working” at the end of June and early July. There might be a strike on a European scale, which could be very well supported, as workers are so upset about the bad practices of their management.
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Will the US join in what is looking to be a global phenomenon? The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), a subsidiary of the Teamsters union, announced Wednesday it would hold a strike vote covering tens of thousands of members in the railroad industry. Workers at the major Class I railroads have been without a new industry-wide contract for nearly three years.
Work stoppages are also up sharply within the US itself this year, with 215 strikes so far in 2022, compared to 123 this time last year, according to Cornell’s Labor Action Tracker. Next week, a major contract expires for 20,000 dockworkers on the West Coast, the point of origin for much of the freight running on US railroads.
Of course, these labor strikes were inevitable – possibly even planned. Inflation created by our central banks, unrealistic energy policies, and other fumbling geopolitics has started the globe on a cycle of price and then labor wage hikes. Once on this treadmill, it will be hard to get off without severe economic pain. And what are the talking heads saying about inflation – see an example in the video below.
Labor strikes added to the already problematic supply chain issues could wreak havoc on the global economy. Governments will need to find other issues to distract their voters – this list will be long and dangerous – hold on to your hats.
The summer of discontent goes global – what could go wrong?
By Tom Williams at Right Wire Report
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