Inflation rates continue to hit levels in many countries which have not been seen for decades. Much of this inflation is being driven by rising energy and food prices, with many food and beverage companies passing along cost increases to consumers to maintain or even increase their often already high profit margins.
In general, wages are not keeping pace with inflation. But workers and their unions are fighting back in many parts of the world. Recent examples include:
- Dutch IUF affiliate FNV successfully negotiated an inflation indexation provision as part of its new collective agreement with UK-based ingredients company Tate & Lyle. This indexation provision is tied to provisional consumer price index figures in the Netherlands and is capped at 6.5% per calendar year; this provision is on top of other negotiated wage increases which were also achieved following a 15-day strike in June 2022 by FNV’s Tate & Lyle membership. The Netherlands’ inflation rate stood at 9% in June 2022;
- In July 2022, UK IUF affiliate Unite the Union successfully negotiated a two-year pay deal boosting pay up to 17.5 % in total for more than 1,000 Cadbury workers at Mondelēz’ Bournville, Birmingham, Chirk, Wales and Marlebrook sites. The UK inflation rate hit 9.1% in May 2022;
- The IUF affiliated FTPSRCHPYA (the Federation of Pastry, Fast Food, Confectionery, Pizza, Ice Cream and Alfajores Workers) signed a collective agreement in June 2022, which provides for a 60% increase in the basic wages of workers employed in pizzerias, churro and empanada houses in Argentina. The agreement contains a review clause to ensure that wages keep pace with inflation. Argentina’s inflation rate hit 60.7% in May 2022;
- In Ireland, IUF affiliate SIPTU announced in April 2022 that its members in more than 2,500 companies across Ireland will urgently seek minimum rises in line with the rate of inflation which is expected to reach 8 per cent over the coming weeks and months. Ireland’s inflation rate was 8.2% in May 2022;
Sue Longley, IUF General Secretary, commented, “In this challenging economic situation across much of the world, the value of being a union member has never been more clear. IUF affiliated unions are fighting back and negotiating wage increases that speak to the huge price increases and inflation being seen in many countries right now.”