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High prices and record inflation .. Britain faces biggest wave of strikes and protests in its history |  economy

High prices and record inflation .. Britain faces biggest wave of strikes and protests in its history | economy

London – Britain is experiencing an inflationary crisis unprecedented in the country’s history for more than half a century, prompting workers in many of the country’s key sectors to go on a series of strikes or threaten strikes in the coming weeks, paralyzing many. Major facilities in the country.

Britain is at the height of its longest and biggest strike to protest against skyrocketing prices, huge increases in electricity bills and low wages compared to alarming figures about the number of Britons at risk of falling below the poverty line.

The first to initiate the strike campaign were railway workers, who were joined by a large number of public sector workers in the longest and largest strike in the history of the United Kingdom, demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

Total strikes

Train services in the UK are expected to come to a standstill after a week of fresh strikes by rail workers, the largest in the country’s history and across all rail transport companies. were involved.

At the end of this month, around 5,500 train drivers in British cities will go on strike for three days.

As for the reasons for the strike, the railway workers’ unions are calling for a salary hike of more than 5% and a reversal of the railway company’s decision to lay off 2,500 workers in the past months.

The strikes spread to workers in the postal sector, one of Britain’s most important sectors, and with more than 160,000 workers, the Royal Mail Corporation is one of the largest employers in the country.

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Unions say the company has made about $1 billion in profits and has rejected any pay raises for years. On the other hand, the company claims to have offered a salary hike of around 5.5%, but unions have rejected the offer and are demanding more.

The biggest union of nurses working in the British Health Authority (NHS) is expected to vote on a decision to go on strike, rejecting a government proposal to raise pay by 4.4%, which is expected to involve around 500,000 nurses. The strike, which will lead to an almost complete shutdown in hospitals.

Teachers’ unions have threatened the biggest strike the country has seen in more than a generation in response to the union’s refusal to offer a 3% government raise to teachers who have been in education for five years or more.

Education unions usually mobilize to get all unions involved in voting at the peak of the school term, which has the most impact.

As the new government is to be elected in September, it is not yet known how the government is going to deal with these strikes, which include the most important sectors such as transport, health and education.

Historical inflation

Britain recently saw a record rise in prices as inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.4%.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), wages rose by 4.3% in May, but when adjusted for inflation, the level of wages in the country fell by 2.8% compared to the previous year.

Estimates of a continued rise in the inflation rate differ between experts and private financial institutions who expect it to continue rising until next autumn, while the Bank of England’s expectations point to a decrease in the inflation rate in the coming months. , and the central bank expected inflation to fall to around 2% after the increase in interest rate hikes to try to control depreciation and borrowing.

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Historically, if the inflation rate in Britain exceeds 9%, it takes years, not months, for it to return to its normal level, which is the highest estimate of around 2-3%, which happened during the hyperinflation of the seventies. As it took 10 years for inflation to return to normal, the rate rose above 20%.

National Energy Action predicts that more than 8.2 million British households will move closer to the poverty line, with annual energy bills expected to reach $3,500 by October.

According to the same organisation, a third of British households could be at risk of poverty by next autumn due to their inability to pay their energy bills. The number of households at risk of poverty increased from 4.5 million households in October last year to 8.2 million households.