British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn joined thousands of workers marching through central London on Saturday to demand a “new deal” on working conditions and an end to what the organisers called the worst pay squeeze in modern history.
The Trades Union Congress used the march to call for a higher minimum wage, improved job security and investment in public services as it released research saying that wages were still worth less in real terms than before the financial crisis.
“This demonstration today is about workers rights, it is about collective endeavour but above all, it’s a declaration that we’re around to campaign as long as it takes, to bring about that social justice and that decency in society,” Corbyn told the rally.
The TUC said real wages were not forecast to return to their pre-financial crash levels until 2025. It said that would mark the worst period of wage stagnation for two centuries.
“It’s taking wages longer to recover from this crash than from the Great Depression and Second World War,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said.
Labour’s Corbyn told the rally a Labour government would increase training for young workers, build more homes, nationalise some sectors and give workers a greater say in how their companies are run, including whether they should be sold.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government says it has boosted the pay of the lowest workers, increased employment and has invested in skills and training.
“Thanks to the hard work of the British people, our economy is at a turning point with inflation falling, unemployment at a 40-year low and debt due to start its first sustained fall in a generation,” a spokesman for the Treasury said.