Inflation is back. Prices went up by the biggest monthly jump in half a century.

Though at just over 3.2% this isn’t quite a return to the dark days of the 1970’s when inflation topped out at an eye-watering a whopping 25% and unions were banging in double digit pay demands after every tea break.

Unions - remember them?  One reason economists seem unperturbed by the latest rise in prices - though they say it quietly - is that unions don’t have the power they exercised in the past to increase pay. There is nothing today to match the sheer industrial muscle of militant miners, steel workers or Leyland car makers. Care workers and Deliveroo bikers don’t really do militant.  

Unions are now more of middle-class phenomenon, confined to the public sector.  You only seem to hear about strikes from professionals like teachers and doctors nowadays.  Only about 14% of workers in the private sector are in unions.  Yet three quarters of all workers work for private employers.  They tend not to strike for higher pay. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get higher pay. 

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