Britain’s largest union, Unite, accused David Cameron and George Osborne of presiding over a cost of living crisis today (Tuesday 13 August) as rail fares look set to rise by up to 9.1 per cent and greatly outstrip wage increases next year.
The rise in fares comes as workers face the biggest fall in living standards since the Victorian era with real wages falling for the last 40 months - the longest squeeze under any prime minister.
Accusing the government of being woefully out of touch with the struggles of ordinary people, the union called for a cap on rail fares and for the railway to be brought back into public ownership, in line with public opinion.
The rise in rail fares follows today’s figures showing that retail price index inflation stands at 3.1 per cent.
Commenting, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Ordinary people are being engulfed by a cost of living crisis as yet again Cameron and Osborne sanction wage busting fare increases.
“The government is woefully out of touch with the struggles of working people who face being priced off the railway and out of the jobs market, thanks to the ‘rail rip-off.’
“As the pound in people’s pockets shrinks, more and more of their wages are lining the pockets of the private shareholders of rail companies, while taxpayers subsidise rail privatisation to the tune of £1.2 billion a year.
“The ‘rail rip off’ cannot continue, the government needs to cap rail fares and bring the industry back into public ownership.”
For further information contact Alex Flynn, Unite head of media and campaigns, on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.42 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.