Wages are not keeping pace with the rising food costs and soaring fuel bills. The inflation threatens to exacerbate inequalities and widen the gap between billions of people struggling to cover their costs and those who are able to keep spending. Inflation stealthily pauperising overwhelming majority of the population sparks a wave of protests and struggles around the world.
This week alone saw protests by the political opposition in Pakistan, nurses in Zimbabwe, unionized workers in Belgium, railway workers in Britain, Indigenous people in Ecuador, pilots in USA and airline workers in Europe. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister declared an economic collapse on 29th June after weeks of political turmoil.
Eddie Dempsey, a senior official with Britain’s Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, which brought U.K. train services to a near standstill with strikes this week, said there are going to be more demands for pay increases across other sectors.
“It’s about time Britain had a pay rise. Wages have been falling for 30 years and corporate profits have been going through the roof,” Dempsey said.
Last week, thousands of truckers in South Korea ended an eight-day strike that caused shipment delays as they called for minimum wage guarantees amid soaring fuel prices. Months earlier, some 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) away, truckers in Spain went on strike to protest fuel prices.
Health care professionals in Zimbabwe went on strike this week after rejecting the government’s offer of a 100% pay rise. The nurses say the offer does not come close to skyrocketing inflation of 130%.
Kenyans have protested in the streets and online as the price of food jumped by 12% in the past year.
One of Tunisia’s most powerful labour unions staged a nationwide public sector strike last week. The North African country faces a deteriorating economic crisis.
Hundreds of activists this month protested the rising cost of living in Burkina Faso. The U.N. World Food Program says the price of corn and millet has shot up more than 60% since last year, reaching as high as 122% in some provinces
“As far as this cost of living that keeps increasing is concerned, we realized that the authorities have betrayed the people,” said Issaka Porgo, president of the civil society coalition behind the protest in the West African country.
If these protests are channelized into progressive regime change in those countries, the right wing forces capture power by hook or crook to further exploit the working class. It is time for the working class to lead the struggles along with the peasants and other exploited classes not only against the price rise but also to bring a progressive regime change.