London: Independent Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday voiced his support for striking British rail workers, adding an international dimension to the growing pressure for higher wages in Britain.
The influential progressive MP was scheduled to join members of the RMT union at a rally for transport workers in London on Wednesday night.
The rally, held outside the headquarters of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), coincided with a strike by postal workers, telecommunications company staff and journalists.
“People are tired of being ignored while the rich get richer,” Sanders, 80, said in an interview with The Guardian.
The UK faces a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation reaching a 40-year high of 10.1% and energy prices skyrocketing.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts interest rates could even rise above 20% from early next year if wholesale gas prices remain high.
Industrial action has been on the rise for months, spreading from the rail and aviation sectors to the postal service, telecommunications and even criminal lawyers.
Health workers, including nurses and junior doctors, are now being voted to strike.
– “Summer of Discontent” –
On Wednesday, the TSSA union, which represents workers in the transport and travel sector, announced a 24-hour strike by train drivers for Sept. 26-27.
The strike on wages, job security and conditions will coincide with the final day of the Labor Party’s annual convention in Liverpool.
“As a trade union, the TSSA will ask Congress delegates and MPs for their support to join the picket line as a show of solidarity to combat the Conservative cost of living crisis,” the union said in a statement. rice field.
The union, a major donor to the country’s main opposition parties, has criticized party leader Kiel Sturmer for his lukewarm support for striking workers.
The current scale of industrial unrest has not been seen since the 1980s, when Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sought to undermine unions as part of her free market economic policies.
It has been popularly referred to as the “Summer of Discontent”, a conscious nod to the “Winter of Discontent” of 1978-79, which saw a wave of public sector strikes before Thatcher came to power.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will step down next week, has done little to tackle the crisis since announcing his resignation in July.
Last week, households reported an 80% increase in utility bills, fueling fears that millions of people will be unable to pay.
Johnson’s successor was announced on Monday, with pro-Thatcher foreign minister Liz Truss being the frontrunner over former finance minister Rishi Sunak.
Truss has rejected handouts to help those most in need, while Snak supports direct government assistance.