More than 80,000 UK workers have rallied in central London against what they say is a dramatic fall in living standards.
The ‘Britain Needs A Pay Rise’ campaign claims average wages have fallen by the equivalent of 350 euros a month in real terms since 2008.
Separate rallies were held in Glasgow and Belfast. on Sunday with many protesters complaining that they’d had no or small pay rises because of the government’s austerity measures.
Dave Prentis, General-Secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unison summed up his member’s anger:
“These people, mainly low-paid workers, have had to pay the price of what the rich and the powerful did to our community. These people didn’t cause the banking crisis, they didn’t wreck our economy, yet they’re paying the price. Six-hundred thousand jobs gone and people being pushed down to the minimum wage,” he said.
A recent study (by the New Economics Foundation) showed a 15 percent decline in real incomes in just the last year alone.
Over the past decade, the number of workers paid no more than the minimum wage has doubled. Low-paid jobs increasingly force workers to sign zero hours contracts, where they aren’t guaranteed any work.
But ministers maintain that, this year, Britain is set to be the fastest growing economy in the developed world. Unemployment has fallen to the lowest level since 2008.
The national minimum wage has also increased this month, they say to £6.50 (around 8 euros).