Unite trade union Coventry City Council bin workers HGV drivers pay strike protest demonstration rally in Coventry city centre

Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

Civil unrest may “not be very far off”, according to money-saving expert Martin Lewis. No amount of money-saving tips will save working-class people from rising energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis, which Martin himself admits! Instead, action is needed to stop the rich getting richer at our expense.

As usual, things are worst for lower-income households, which are expected to face an income drop of £1,300 this year, in real terms. But if wages, on average, had kept pace with payouts to company shareholders over the last 20 years, everyone would be £2,100 a year better off! This was even before the horrific further rise in the cost of living we are about to suffer.

Vast profits have been siphoned off by big business from workers in that time. Yet average pay in real terms is still below what it was before the 2008 economic crisis.

Just take Shell and BP, who are currently reporting sharp increases in profit. In the last ten years they handed £147 billion (yes billion!) to shareholders, while we endure excruciating prices rises. You can have no clearer argument for the nationalisation of fuel and energy companies to help control prices.

There is a critical need now for an organised mass fightback. The trade union movement, with over six million members organised in the workplaces, could take that lead and draw in millions more who are suffering.

It’s a start that the TUC has called a national demo in London on 18 June to protest at the cost of living. But unions need to build for it. Go to every member and campaign to get them there, provide the transport – and make sure it’s filled!

The 18 June protest needs to be used as a step towards mass coordinated strike action, linked to mass protest on the strike days in towns and cities across the county. A mass movement can start to force back the bosses and the Tory government, itself already rocking, and win decent pay, benefits, and pensions.

Let’s give them civil unrest – positive, organised and with a clear programme of socialist change!

  • Nationalise the energy companies under democratic working-class control and management
  • For a trade union-led mass movement against the cost-of-living crisis
  • Build a new mass workers’ party