Massive demonstration in London slams Tory failure to tackle cost of living crisis

Working class sections in the UK are protesting against the Tory government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for its failure to tackle the soaring inflation and cost of living crisis in the country

June 20, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Anti-Tory Protest - London
Anti-Tory demonstration in London on June 18. (Photo: via Stíofán Uí Néill)

Tens of thousands people marched in the streets of London on Saturday, June 18, protesting the Tory misgovernance that has aggravated the cost of living crisis in the country. The demonstration titled ‘We Demand Better’, called by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), saw the participation of activists from all trade unions, including Unite the Union, RMT, UNISON, GMB, and PCS Union, as well as campaign platforms and groups like the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, Stand Up to Racism, Socialist Appeal, Care4Calais, and Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament (CND), among others. Progressive political parties including the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Socialist Party, and the Young Communist League (YCL-Britain) also took part.

The demonstrators expressed solidarity with the strikes announced by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) against the government’s anti-worker and austerity policies. They also condemned the offshoring of refugees to Rwanda and privatization of key public services like the NHS, and demanded that the UK exit war alliances including NATO.

Working class sections and other low income households across the UK have been facing an acute cost of living crisis marked by skyrocketing energy and food prices. Common people in the country, already badly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, are finding it difficult to make ends meet amid the soaring inflation. On the other hand, the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Boris Jonson has continued with its policies of privatization, war mongering and anti-worker austerity.

Prior to the mobilization on Saturday, TUC stated that workers were suffering the “longest and harshest” squeeze on their earnings in modern history.

According to Morning Star, a TUC study said that workers have lost almost £20,000 (USD 24,448) since 2008 because pay has not kept pace with inflation. The union federation said it was the biggest “real wage” loss since the 1830s, adding that the pay “slump” showed little sign of abating.

“The government dithered and delayed whilst living standards plummeted. It’s time for a new deal for working people. We need help with energy bills and a real pay rise for every worker,” TUC added.

Unite the Union stated, “We’re marching to demand action to tackle the Cost Of Living Crisis. We didn’t create this crisis – we shouldn’t have to pay for it now.”

Watch: Millions on the brink of fuel poverty in UK

YCL-Britain stated on Friday, “We are part of a whole generation who have grown up knowing nothing other than Tory austerity. Tomorrow can’t be another march without purpose. It has to be the spark for a mass movement, uniting communities and workplaces  a confrontational working class movement that can make the rich pay, and build a vision of the future rooted in working class state power.”

Stand Up To Racism said on the day of the march, “let’s keep pushing back [Home Secretary] Patel and Johnson’s racist hostile environment – stop Rwanda offshore detention – scrap the Nationality and Borders Act.”

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of rail workers and tube workers, under the leadership of the RMT, are set to go for multiple strikes next week, protesting job cuts and austerity imposed by the government’s decision to cut £4 billion (USD 4.89 billion) of funding from transport systems – £2 billion (USD 2.44 billion) from the national rail and £2 billion from Transport for London. According to Socialist Worker, over 50,000 workers will join the strike at the London Underground Network Rail and 13 train operating companies on June 21, 23 and 25.