AFTER the recent rail strikes, transport unions came under heavy pressure to accept below inflation pay offers.

The phoney logic underlying this is inflation is wage-driven.

Problem! There is no "wage price spiral"’.

The reality is that right now there is a whirlwind profits-price spiral.

Inflation was on the rise before the current strike wave began.

In 2022, prices rose by 9.6 per cent, the highest rate for 40 years.

Wages and salaries increased by just 4.3 per cent. Therefore real values fell by 5.7 per cent.

Falling real wages mean record profits and, as a result, the biggest 350 companies on the London Stock Exchange saw profits 73 per cent higher than 2019. These same firms increased their mark-ups from 58 per cent to 82 per cent.

Self-evidently the market has failed. As we all know it cannot provide affordable food, energy, homes, transport or utilities.

The UK needs to rebuild our industries but our investment record is pitiful. From 1997-2007, it was worse than Italy, Germany, the US, France, Japan and South Korea. As a result productivity is weak. Privatisation has merely pumped wealth into directors’ pockets.

Remainers blame inflation on Brexit but EU countries like Latvia and Poland are experiencing inflation in the 12-20 per cent bracket.

The way out for ordinary people is clear. Stronger unions and countrywide collective bargaining. Rebalance the British economy away from financial services. Finally, an effective price control and tax policy.

The people must take charge!

C Walker, Darlington