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22 Jul 2022

Elliot Smith, CNBC

UK: Workers across 'pillars of the economy' vote for industrial action in 'summer of strikes' over below-inflation pay offers

"Britain faces a summer of strikes as historic inflation and falling real wages bite", 22 July 2022

Amid political upheaval, an economic crisis and the potential for mass industrial action, Britain faces a problematic, and possibly pivotal, summer.

U.K. inflation came in at a 40-year high of 9.4% annually in June and pay packets are failing to keep pace, with real wages plunging and workers across sectors becoming more disgruntled.

The Office for National Statistics on Tuesday reported total pay increases of 7.2% in the private sector and 1.5% in the public sector in the three months to the end of May, for an overall average of 6.2%.

This led to a decline in real wages — those adjusted for inflation — of 3.7% excluding bonuses, the worst annual drop since records began in 2001.

Workers across pillars of the economy have been voting for industrial action over below-inflation pay offers — including transport workers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, teachers, postal workers, civil servants, lawyers and British Telecoms engineers...

Britain was ground to a halt several weeks ago by strike action from rail workers over working conditions, jobs and pay. A further 24 hour walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will take pace on July 27.

On Tuesday, more than 115,000 Royal Mail workers, members of the Communication Workers Union, overwhelmingly voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay, with 97.6% of members from a 77% voter turnout backing industrial action...

CWU Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger told the BBC on Wednesday that the 97.6% vote in favor of industrial action was a “measure of the anger” felt by Royal Mail workers...