Hundreds of thousands are also on strike… in the UK
France is not the only European country on strike this Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of people are also on strike…in the UK, demanding higher pay on the day the Conservative government unveils its annual budget. This is, according to the British media, the most important day of action for several years. The country has been facing a wave of social unrest for months as inflation remains above 10%.
In London, the underground is at a standstill this Wednesday, the drivers of the “Tube” having stopped work. Stations remained closed. Teachers are on strike in England. They will continue their movement on Thursday. Tens of thousands of teachers demonstrated in central London in the middle of the day. The hospital doctors, who started their action on Monday, did not return to work and joined the parade.
As Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt presented his budget to Parliament, civil servants demonstrated outside Downing Street, with drums and whistles. “What do we want? 10%! When do we want it? Now!” chanted the protesters. “We are currently seeing the biggest wave of strikes in the UK since Ordinary people say, ‘We’ve had enough,'” said Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS, the first public sector union. “In the UK we have the toughest anti-union legislation, it’s very difficult to organize a strike,” he told AFP. “The fact that so many people are on strike makes me optimistic that we can win.”
Tens of thousands of civil servants are forced to go to food banks while others have to “skip meals”, he said earlier on Sky News. “It’s a real scandal,” criticized the trade unionist. “It’s a shame for the government to have such a level of poverty in the public service”. “I see these men and women who have dedicated their lives to public service (…) who now have to apply for social assistance,” he said again.
Jeremy Hunt assessed this Wednesday at 94 billion pounds (107.7 billion euros) over two years the government measures put in place for purchasing power. In particular, the government announced the extension for three months of the energy price cap for households, which should have increased on April 1. Jeremy Hunt also announced a 12-month extension of the fuel tax freeze.