USDAW balloons on a demonstration

The most recent inflation figures show that inflation continues to outstrip increases in incomes, with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and Consumer Prices Index (CPI) standing at 9.1 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.

Retail union Usdaw has subsequently called for the government to take meaningful action to address the cost of living crisis facing the British public.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary – said: “The Government were too busy last month congratulating themselves on a small dip in inflation, only to see it rise again this month. While they may take small comfort in the CPI rate dipping slightly, Usdaw contends that RPI is a more accurate measure of the price rises experienced by working people. This complacency only adds to their failure to address the crisis in workers’ pay and employment rights that is making the ongoing cost of living emergency much worse.

“Skyrocketing prices, particularly on food items, leave too many workers struggling to make ends meet. Food inflation remains painfully high at 13.6% and continues to have a severe impact on low-paid workers struggling to make ends meet. Regular pay, excluding bonuses, rose by 7.8% in May to July compared with a year earlier. That is below today’s RPI rate of inflation of 9.1%, amounting to a real-terms pay cut and continuing a decade or more of unprecedented pay suppression.

“Despite growth in regular pay low-paid workers feel no better off, with continuing high inflation, high interest rates and cost pressures that are significantly over and above the headline rate. In fact some prices, such as petrol and diesel, have risen again in recent weeks and food inflation, in particular, continues to put huge pressure on working families.

Lillis went on to argue that the Labour Party’s ‘New Deal for Working People’ policy proposals is the kind of action the country needs. He said: “Short-term support with ongoing cost of living pressures are only sticking plasters and is not enough to help those struggling to make ends meet. Our members need lasting solutions with a new deal for workers. Only Labour is pledged to deliver that new deal within 100 days of coming into government. Only Labour has the policies and ideas that can put the country back on track.”

Labour’s proposals include increases to the minimum wage and a single enforcement body to ensure proactive enforcement of workers’ rights.

However, the party has come under heavy criticism recently for watering down some of its plans – particularly around sick pay and giving workers rights from day one of employment.

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Image credit: staticgirl – Creative Commons