London, Jun 18 (EFE).- Thousands of people turned out here Saturday for a protest organized by the United Kingdom’s largest labor federation to demand that Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson do more to combat inflation.
With the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Frances O’Grady, and Labor Party deputy leader Angela Raynor in the vanguard, the crowd marched through the heart of London past 10 Downing Street – the prime minister’s official residence – to the Palace of Westminster, where Parliament sits.
British workers have lost a third of their purchasing power over the last 14 years as inflation has raced ahead of pay, constituting the largest decline in real wages since 1830, according to the TUC, whose 48 affiliate unions represent 5.5. million employees.
A schoolteacher who identified herself only as Stephanie told Efe that she hasn’t had a pay increase in 10 years.
One of her colleagues, Jacinta, blamed the situation on mismanagement by the Conservative government, which is “filling the pockets of the rich” while giving no thought to workers.
Hostility to the governing Conservatives, traditionally known as Tories, was a theme of the protest, with chants of “Tories Out.”
One of the posters printed for the occasion bore photographs of Johnson and the UK’s top official for economic policy, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, and the words: It’s Their Crisis MAKE THEM PAY.
Sarah, a member of the GMB union, said that while the prime minister and his Cabinet blame everything on the war in Ukraine and global inflation, the Johnson government is the “principal cause” of the soaring cost of living in the UK.
Though Saturday was the hottest day of the year so far in Britain, with a forecast high of 32 C (89 F) in London, the capital saw multiple mobilizations.
Besides the protest against inflation, people took to the streets to denounce Johnson’s plan – currently on hold – to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda and the government’s decision to approve the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.
Other demonstrators rallied in support of a national rail strike set for next week. EFE