INFLATION in the UK is accelerating out of control. According to the latest Labour government figures which grossly underestimate the process the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is now at 2.8 per cent and the Retail Price Index (RPI), which includes mortgage interest rates is now at 4.6 per cent.
This leap makes certain that next month’s meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will increases its interest rate by at least 0.5 per cent.
This will increase mortgage interest rates, further crucifying mortgage payers and bankrupting industry, leading to major increases in the numbers of workers being sacked.
In the Consumer Price Index massive increases in rail and bus fares were ‘balanced’ by allegedly lower petrol prices and a ‘fall in the price of computer games’! allowing a just 0.1 per cent increase, which is however still 0.8 per cent above the treasury’s 2.0 per cent target.
The RPI rose from 4.2 per cent, by a startling 0.4 per cent, in just one month.
The TGWU responded to the inflationary news by stating: ‘These figures show what T&G members and pay negotiators have known for too long now that the cost of housing, food, transport and fuel have been outstripping the headline statistics.’
Yesterday council workers across the country were dealt a savage wage cut blow as the employers delivered a 2% pay offer by local government chiefs which equals at the least a 2.6 per cent wage cut!
The leaders of UNISON, the TGWU and the GMB dismissed the claim as ‘insulting and demeaning’.
However action not words is what is required.
The leaderships of the council workers’ trade unions must meet and decide to take indefinite strike action for their 5 per cent claim, which is still less than the real inflation rate.
Since NHS staff, including both nurses and doctors have also been included in insulting wage cutting pay settlements, their unions and professional organisations must be invited to join the action.
Action against government wage cutting is vital since driving it forward is a major crisis of the capitalist system.
We have seen this emerge with the war in Iraq and the massive inflation in oil, gas, and all metal prices, including gold which followed, and then in the stock market falls and the banking and mortgage company collapses of recent days.
Britain, with £1.3 trillion of domestic debt and a currency that is estimated to be overpriced by up to 30 per cent, is extremely vulnerable to a collapse, beginning with a run on the pound sterling and ending with bankruptcy.
The working class now needs a trade union leadership that has a policy to meet this crisis and resolve it.
There must be national strike action to smash the government’s wage cutting and privatisation policies.
The trade union must defend working class living standards.
They must draw up their own cost of living index and demand that on top of annual pay awards, wages rise to keep pace with rises in their cost of living index.
All job losses must be resisted with a policy to cut hours with no loss of wages. Closures must be fought with occupations and industrial action to demand nationalisation of the threatened industry under workers’ control.
The trade unions must declare that no worker must lose their jobs or homes as the crisis deepens and that the answer is the nationalisation of the banks and the major industries under workers’ control.
Above all what is required is a workers’ government to carry out socialist policies.
The number one strategic allies of the bosses are the trade union bureaucrats who refuse to fight for their members and accept every cut, wage cut and closure.
These reformist traitors must be replaced by a new and revolutionary leadership which will mobilise the working class to get rid of capitalism before it can unleash new slumps and wars onto humanity.