Unite News Release

For immediate release: Wednesday 22 June 2022

Leaders should take a stand against profiteering, not attack hard-pressed workers

As RPI inflation hits 11.7%, Unite says company profits are responsible for nearly 60% of inflation rise

As the Retail Price Index hits 11.7 per cent, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham says that corporate profits are fuelling the rise, not workers’ wages.

Hitting back at further calls for pay restraint, Sharon Graham said: “It’s not hard-pressed workers who are driving inflation, it’s whole swathes of corporate Britain who have lined their pockets. Runaway profits are driving the inflation that is threatening a national pay cut and yet the vast majority of politicians remain silent.

“While the Governor of the Bank of England and the Prime Minister want workers to think it’s irresponsible to demand that their wages keep pace with prices, they won’t lift a finger to do anything about the ridiculous wealth being amassed by the rich and powerful.

“The truth is that corporate profiteering is out of control.  CEOs are hiking prices while shareholders rub their hands and workers struggle to make ends meet.

“Unite makes absolutely no apologies for demanding that employers that can pay, do pay. Wage restraint, absolutely not. It’s time for profit restraint.”


Unite’s latest report ‘Corporate Profiteering and the Cost of Living Crisis’ exposes how profiteering is driving inflation, not wages:


  • FTSE 350 profit margins for the UK’s biggest listed companies were 73% higher in 2021 than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Even removing energy companies from the tally, average profit margins still jumped an astonishing 52%.


  • Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that company profits jumped 11.74% in the six months from October 2021 to March 2022. In the same period labour costs fell by 0.8%, accounting for inflation.


  • The jump in UK wide company profits is responsible for 58.7% of inflation in the last half year – as opposed to just 8.3% due to labour costs.


  • Between 2020 and 2021 average pay for the highest paid directors of the UK’s biggest listed companies leapt a colossal 29% from £2.01 million in 2020 to £2.59 million in 2021.




Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315


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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.