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Inflation creates a wave of global protests for higher wages and help

Article author:

The Associated Press

Associated Press

Aya Batrawy

Rising food costs. Soaring fuel costs. Wages that are not keeping pace. Inflation has plundered people's wallets, causing a wave of protests and worker strikes around the world.

This week alone, Pakistani opposition, Zimbabwe nurses, Belgian union members, British railroad workers, Ecuadorian indigenous people, hundreds of US pilots, European airline workers There was a protest by. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister declared an economic collapse on Wednesday after weeks of political turmoil.

According to economists, the Russian war in Ukraine has caused farmers to struggle to grow and export crops in one of the world, resulting in energy costs and fertilizers, grains, Inflation was amplified by further pushing up the price of cooking oil. Major agricultural areas.

As prices rise, inflation can exacerbate inequality and widen the gap between billions of people struggling to cover costs and those who can continue to spend. ..

"Not all of us are together," said Matt Grainger, head of inequality policy for the poverty alleviation organization Oxfam. "How many rich people know the price of a loaf of bread? They aren't really, they just absorb the price."

Oxfam is in Germany this weekend We are calling on a group of seven major developed countries to host their annual summit to provide debt relief to developing countries and tax companies on excess profits.

"This is not just a crisis. It comes from behind a horrifying pandemic that has helped increase inequality around the world," Grainger said. "I think we'll see more and more protests."

Demonstrations have caught the attention of the government, responding to rising consumer prices, expanding subsidies to utility bills and fueling We have taken support measures such as tax cuts. In many cases, the energy market is volatile, so it provides little relief. Central banks are trying to mitigate inflation by raising interest rates.

Meanwhile, workers on strike are pressing employers to discuss wage increases to keep up with rising prices.

This week, UK rail, maritime and transport coalition official Eddie Dempsey, who almost stopped UK rail services on strike, said demand for more increases would increase across the rest of the sector. rice field.

"It's time for the UK to raise salaries. Wages have fallen for 30 years and corporate profits have peaked," Dempsey said.

Last week, thousands of South Korean truck drivers finished their eight-day strike and demanded a minimum wage guarantee amid rising fuel prices, delaying shipments. A few months ago, a Spanish truck driver, about 10,000 km (6,200 miles) away, went on strike to protest fuel prices.

The Peruvian government imposed a short curfew after intensifying protests against fuel and food prices in April. Truck drivers and other transport workers also went on strike, blocking major highways.

Last month, protests against the cost of living the expulsion of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister. Middle-class families say they have to skip meals because of the island nation's economic crisis and are urging them to consider leaving the island nation altogether.

This situation is especially dire for refugees and the poor in conflict areas such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Myanmar and Haiti. They themselves are having a hard time collecting money.

"How much is my kidney?" This is the most frequently asked question in one of Kenya's largest hospitals. Kenyatta National Hospital reminded Facebook people this week that it is illegal to sell human organs.

For the European middle class, the cost of commuting and serving meals is high.

"Raise your salary now." We chanted thousands of union members in Brussels this week.

"I came here to protect the purchasing power of citizens, because demonstrations are the only way to make a difference," said protester Genevieve Cordier. "We can't deal with it anymore. Even with two salaries ... we're both working and we can't raise our heads to the water."

Some In countries, especially in politically-stricken countries such as Lebanon and Iraq, a combination of government corruption and mismanagement supports economic turmoil.

Protests reflect rising economic instability. Here's how this was done in Africa.

— Zimbabwean health professionals went on strike this week after rejecting the government's offer to raise 100%. Nurses say offers never approach a 130% surge in inflation.

— Kenyans have protested on the streets and online as food prices have risen by 12% over the past year.

— One of Tunisia's most powerful trade unions launched a national public sector strike last week. North African countries are facing a deteriorating economic crisis.

— Hundreds of activists protested rising living costs in Burkina Faso this month. According to the United Nations World Food Program, corn and millet prices have risen by more than 60% since last year, reaching 122% in some states.

"I have noticed that the authorities have betrayed people as far as this ever-increasing cost of living is concerned," said Isaka Polgo, chairman of the civil society coalition behind the protests of the West African nation.

Protesters blame the military junta, which expelled the democratically elected president in January, raised salaries while the population faced rising prices. ..

According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation this year will average around 6% in developed and around 9% in emerging and developing countries. Global economic growth is projected to slow by 40% and 3.6% this year and next. The IMF is calling on the government to focus its support packages on those who need it most to avoid triggering a recession.

A slowdown is occurring as the COVID-19 pandemic still dominates industries around the world, from manufacturing to tourism. Climate change and drought are damaging agricultural production in some countries, encouraging export bans that further push food prices up.

In low-income countries, where 42% of household income is spent on food, rising food prices are particularly painful, an analyst tracking the food security of risk advisory firm Eurasia Group, Peter Celetti said.

"Probably more broad and angry, more protests will be seen, but we don't expect destabilization or a peaceful transition of power protests," the government coordinated with the government. As he approved the subsidy, he said.


London Associated Press writer Jill Laures. Sam Mednick of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya. Mark Carlson in Brussels, Belgium contributed to this report.