Workers at the luxury car company Rolls-Royce secured a significant pay increase after threatening to go on strike over stagnant salaries after the company had a banner year in sales.
Unite Union, which represents the workers, accused the company of undervaluing its employees and 98 percent of the workers voted to strike if a deal did not materialize.
“This is a top-notch pay deal for the Rolls-Royce workforce,” Sharon Graham, the general-secretary of the country’s Unite union, told the Financial Times. “For years, the workers had been underpaid and undervalued but that’s changing.”
The report noted that all 1,200 workers are at the carmaker’s only car factory in Goodwood, England. The deal will include a one-time payment of €2,000 and at least a 10 percent salary increase—which could be as high as 17.6 percent.
Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW, saw its sales increase by up to 49 percent last year when it sold 5,586 cars. The company said it was happy with the deal and called the discussions “cordial and constructive throughout.”
The union praised its own deeds as a “testament to the organizing efforts of the Unite reps at Goodwood. It’s also proof that our union’s laser-sighted focus on jobs, pay, and conditions is winning for workers.”
Scott Kemp, Unite’s regional coordinating officer, expressed his satisfaction with the deal, stating that the employees at the plant, who make the world’s most expensive cars, were paid the worst in the premium end of the industry.
Nurses Strike in UK
Nurses in the UK have gone on strike to demand improved working conditions and a 19 percent pay increase as the country faces staffing issues and its own fiscal crisis.
These nurses went on strike across the UK last Thursday for 12 hours while making sure the most severe patients were still being cared for. The New York Times reported that these strikes reached from London to Northern Ireland and were the first the National Health Service had to face in 74 years.
The Royal College of Nursing warned that the strikes will persist and continue to grow. The Guardian reported that the college said the next round would be “more hospitals and more nurses taking part than at present” and will continue in January. The report said some nurses claimed they were bullied and threatened with disciplinary action if they took part in a work slow-down. Ambulance drivers have also gone on strike.
“We don’t want to cause any harm to patients. Our aim is to cause disruption to the government so they come and talk to us. We want them to engage with us meaningfully, so we can suspend this action and come to some agreement,” Jason Kirkham, a Unite member and paramedic in the West Midlands, told the paper.
Like the nurses taking part in the strike, these paramedics have been responding to the most severe cases. The average salary for a nurse in England is around $45,000. The Economist noted that their pay fell by 6 percent in real terms in the decade to 2021 compared to a 3 percent fall for private-sector workers.
The UK is dealing with a number of strikes, including rail engineers and postal workers, which could not come at a worst time with the Christmas holiday. The UK has been dealing with inflation that came in at 10.7 percent in November, which was down slightly due in large part to lower fuel prices.
CNBC, citing the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, reported that the UK is expected to see its largest fall in living standards since records began. Real household income is expected to decline by 4.3 percent in 2022-23.
TRENDPOST: Michael Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent, said history should be a “big warning” to Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, and his government, referring to 1978 and 1979, which is known as the winter of discontent.
“It was the industrial chaos of the late 1970s that paved the way for a decade of Thatcher. This is compounding a sense in the country that nobody is really in control,” he said.
Steven Fielding, an emeritus professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, told The Times that the support for unions in the UK is at a historic high.
“And there are some groups, like the nurses, who are seen as secular saints. This is the first time they’ve ever gone on strike,” he said.
The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the economic downturn in the UK and how it led to the end of Liz Truss’s premiership. (See “UK FACTORIES FACE TWO YEARS OF RECESSION,” “TOP TREND 2022, DRAGFLATION: BRITISH BUDGET CHIEF DEFENDS SPENDING CUTS, TAX HIKES” and “SUNAK’S IN-LAWS MADE FORTUNE OUTSOURCING JOBS IN UK, U.S., MAKING BIGS BIGGER AT THE EXPENSE OF THE WORKER.”)
TRENDPOST: The depth and severity of Britain’s recession are worsened by the UK’s draconian COVID War mandates that destroyed the lives and livelihoods of the country as did its “Brexit” from the European Union.
Severing trade ties with European partners has cost British manufacturers hundreds of millions of pounds in higher costs for materials and shortages of skilled labor, Make UK has said.
The loss of free trade with Europe cost the country’s consumers £5.8 billion in higher food prices during 2020 and 2021, according to a study by the London School of Economics.
As Britain’s economy recovers from its current recession, it will not regain the size or strength it had when it was part of the European Union or before the COVID War.