Inflation soars, wages still held down

Charter supporters protested outside British Gas's profits announcement (Picture: Guy Smallman)

 

The past few days have emphasised the centrality of the issues raised in the People Before Profit Charter.

Official inflation figures released yesterday (12 August) show the CPI measure of inflation at 4.4 percent. So the government’s own preferred statistic demonstrates that Gordon Brown’s 2-2.5 percent pay limit is half the rate of inflation.

At the same time the water companies are insisting they should be able to raise prices at 3 percent above inflation for the next five years! And the rise will be even higher if you don’t have a water meter.

Workers are told to accept wage “rises” less than inflation, the multinational corporations expect to get more.

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of the union Unite, echoed several of the demands of the Charter when he said this week, “Workers are the victims of inflation not its cause. The government must act to help those unable to cope. Our case for a windfall tax on the greedy oil companies and the utilities companies is unarguable. Its time to stop dithering and start acting.

“EDF is a perfect example where this French company is limited under law from raising fuel prices in France but EDF can hit British families with massive increases.

“The government needs to do more for the UK housing market by reducing or removing stamp duty and they should kickstart house building by announcing a massive increase in new council houses.

“These are the bold moves which would show the electorate the Government is listening and is prepared to act. These measures would go along way towards reconnecting Labour with its core voters.”

We urge trade unionists, campaigners, anti-war activists, anti-racism campaigners, pensioners and others to sign the Charter (see right) and to raise in their organisations an active programme to win its demands.

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