Slow government action sparks protests over cost of living around the world
In Italy, hundreds of unemployed Neapolitans gathered to ask for government help, burning their energy bills in Piazza Matteotti.
Addressing reporters, protesters said: “We are tired of promises. We have been waiting for jobs for years and now we cannot afford these numbers, which have tripled. So far there have been many words for us but little action.
In the UK, more than 170,000 people have joined the Don’t Pay movement, which will see UK residents refused to pay their energy bills from October if 1 million people sign the petition.
Don’t Pay is further leveraged by the #EnoughIsEnough campaign, which has mobilized to demand government action in four areas: higher wages, lower energy bills, a plan to end food poverty, improving the availability and quality of housing, and finally, new legislation. tax the rich.
Elsewhere in Europe, 70,000 people gathered in the Czech Republic to protest the country’s arms supply to Ukraine, prompting Putin to cut gas supplies to the region in early August.
Despite Czech leaders announcing in July that gas tanks were at 80% capacity, citizens still fear the nation will run out in the long winter ahead and are protesting in favor of a new energy deal with Russia.
And, despite the one-time €300 rebate on Germany’s energy bill and the doubling of student loan amounts set to hit bank accounts this month, experts warn riots sparked by struggling right-wing extremists economic are almost inevitable.
Places where things get better
In France, the people have had more of a say. The act of public protest is rooted in French DNA and for good reason: their government actually listen.
After gas prices rose in 2018 and protests broke out, the French government capped prices and sent €100 in “energy vouchers” to six million low-income households. Soon after, the government amplified its decarbonization strategy and established a citizens’ assembly to directly advise the president on climate change policy.
The French now enjoy stable gas prices, which were frozen in October last year. Now electricity price increases have been capped at 4% (at least until 2023) and €100 has been sent to low-income households to cover their energy bills.
Wondering why Britain’s leaders have done next to nothing in the face of inflation, despite an excellent example from their nearest neighbours, Owen Jones boldly wrote for The Guardian: “Put simply, French leaders fear their people “. In Britain, as things stand, this is not the case.
Across the pond, the United States signed the Cut Inflation Act which provides a $10,000 student loan forgiveness for those earning less than $120,000 a year. The bill also aims to reduce health care and medical costs for seniors.
In the Netherlands, Turkey and Japan, governments have also taken steps to ease inflation pressure by raising the statutory minimum wage.
Spain plans to reduce gas VAT from 21% to 5% during the winter months, and Norway has capped electricity bills and provides public coverage of up to 80% of usage.
In Asia, the Malaysian government spends more than $17 billion on subsidies to support energy prices and Bangladeshi leaders have subsidized food, oil, fertilizer, gas and electricity to support more than 10 million of people.
A logistical nightmare
Inflation doesn’t just affect the amount of money leaving our bank accounts. It also affects our habitual patterns, habits and, for many, the will to work.
I probably don’t need to remind you that public transport strikes have become extremely common in places like the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Norway and Belgium, while workers are demanding higher wages to cope with soaring inflation.
Aviation sectors are also seeing employees marching, with low-cost carriers like EasyJet receiving demands for 40% pay rises from their fleet teams.
Ireland’s Ryanair has seen thousands of flights axed and Scandi Airline (SAS AB) workers staged fortnightly walkouts, cutting capacity by 23% over the period.
A post-pandemic travel boom combined with long-term wage stagnation has led to frustration that has resulted in the cancellation of thousands of flights and rail services due to staff shortages.
While Putin isn’t exactly winning the war, he may be pleased to see world governments struggling with citizen recoil as he withholds Russian oil and gas, arms the energy sector and seeing the international economy collapsing on itself.
And if some governments are handling the situation better than others, it’s only a matter of time before everyone is forced to act, especially as winter approaches and the use of the energy becomes vital for heating.
I’m not the first to say this, but rioters, rallies and strikes will only feel more legitimized if the drastic lack of action continues.