Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers, speaks during a rail strike rally outside Kings Cross station on June 25, 2022 in London.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers, speaks during a rail strike rally outside Kings Cross station on June 25, 2022 in London. (Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

'Enough Is Enough' Campaign Launched in UK to Fight Cost of Living Crisis

"Fair pay, affordable bills, enough to eat, and a decent place to live. These aren't luxuries—they are your rights!"

A progressive coalition of trade unions, advocacy groups, and lawmakers in the United Kingdom launched a new campaign Monday to "push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing--and a society run only for a wealthy elite."

"It's time to turn anger into action."

As of Tuesday, more than 100,000 people have already signed up to support the pro-working class initiative. Called "Enough is Enough," the campaign plans to hold rallies and establish neighborhood groups across Britain in the coming weeks, organize picket line solidarity for striking workers, and take action against the corporations and individuals profiting from the ongoing cost of living crisis.

"We can't rely on the establishment to solve our problems," says the website for the campaign, which is backed by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), ACORN community union, Tribune magazine, Fans Supporting Foodbanks, the Right to Food Campaign, and Labour Party parliamentarians Zarah Sultana and Ian Byrne. "It's up to us in every workplace and every community."

"So, if you're struggling to get by and your wages don't cover the bills, if you're fed up working harder for less and you're worried about the future, or if you just can't stand to see what's happening to our country--join us," the campaign website continues. "It's time to turn anger into action."

That message was expanded upon in a two-minute video featuring Sultana, CWU general-secretary Dave Ward, and Mick Lynch, the popular Rail, Maritime, and Transport union leader behind Britain's ongoing rail strikes, among other activists and workers.

"It's no good just being pissed off," Lynch said in a statement. "You've got to say, I'm going to turn that into an organization with a set of demands and a way to fight for them."

Following decades of wage stagnation and inflation-adjusted pay cuts, Enough is Enough is working to achieve five key demands. The campaign aims to:

  1. Win real improvements in pay, benefits, and workers' rights;
  2. Reduce skyrocketing energy bills that are forcing working households into poverty while fossil fuel giants rake in record profits;
  3. Abolish hunger by introducing universal free school meals and community kitchens and bolstering income support;
  4. Guarantee quality housing for all by capping rents, building more than 100,000 council houses per year, insulating homes, and strengthening tenants' rights; and
  5. Make big business and the rich pay their fair share in taxes.

"Fair pay, affordable bills, enough to eat, and a decent place to live. These aren't luxuries--they are your rights!" Ward said in a statement.

"Working-class people are having the piss taken out of us," he added on Twitter.

Surging profits for the wealthy few come at the direct expense of society's vast majority, Ward stressed, telling ITV News that the campaign is necessary because "the country is on its knees."

"More food banks than McDonald's, millions of people unable to pay bills, millions more taking second jobs to even survive. All of this while the rich get richer," said the CWU leader. "This campaign is about rebalancing the economy and winning back dignity for working-class people."

"We will force change by taking our messaging into every single corner of the U.K.," Ward continued. "It's time for trade unions, community groups, and workers to come together like we haven't seen in decades--because that is the scale of this crisis."

"You always make the sacrifices, yet they always reap the rewards," says the campaign video. "None of this is inevitable. It's a political choice: your need or their greed."

That tens of thousands of people around the U.K. joined the campaign in less than 24 hours--with so many trying at the same time that the site briefly struggled to keep up--underscores how untenable the status quo has become for so many.

"Things can't go on like this," Sultana said in a statement. "Record profits for big business, record number of billionaires, record wealth for the top 10%. But life is getting harder for everyone else."

In an opinion piece published by The Guardian on Tuesday, Sultana argued that against a "truly frightening backdrop" of economic immiseration, "the public are owed solutions from politicians that match the scale of the crisis. But our political class has almost nothing to say."

She continued:

Behind the headlines are real people suffering, powerfully recounted in this paper's recent Heat or eatdiaries: parents who can't put food on the table, private renters struggling to keep a roof over their heads, elderly people terrified of facing winter with no money to pay the bills. I see this in my constituency, with more and more people coming to me unable to make ends meet.

Often this is discussed as if it were somehow natural, as if we just have to accept that millions more people will be plunged into poverty. But none of this is inevitable. Millions of people are experiencing a cost of living crisis not because there's not enough to go around, but because wealth and power is hoarded by a privileged few. Alongside a record squeeze on living standards, Britain is also home to record wealth.

It's a cost of living crisis for the many, but it's a bonanza for the few. This crisis is the result of a choice: Do we build an economy that satisfies corporate greed, or one that meets people's needs? Time and again, Britain's political class has opted for their greed over our need.

"It's not just the Tories," Sultana wrote. "As working-class people face an unprecedented attack on their living standards, my own party, in truth, isn't offering enough."

"If Labour won't stand alongside working people fighting for decent pay, what do we stand for?" she asked. "Labour should be clear about whose side we are on, and it needs to learn that standing with workers isn't about identifying with a sectional interest, it's about siding with the vast majority of the public whose collective interests trade unions are defending."

The campaign video, meanwhile, says: "We're not all in this together. We never have been. The people that are in this together are working-class people who've been mugged for far too long."

"It's time," the video concludes, "to say enough is enough."

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