Union members in Portsmouth stage protest in Guildhall Square against an 'alarming' increase to the cost of living

TENACIOUS union members joined forces on the steps of a city landmark this weekend to protest ‘alarming’ increases to the cost of living.

Saturday, 5th March 2022, 4:02 pm

Representatives from groups including the Public and Commercial Services Union, the National Education Union and Unite took a stand during a protest in Guildhall Square on Saturday (March 5).

As part of their demonstration they were calling for the government to ‘reverse’ a series of cuts, while preventing the cost of bills continuing to rise.

It comes as households nationally are set to be hit with ‘soaring’ energy prices this year, while national insurance contributions will rise by 1.25 per cent in April.

Union members united on the steps of the Portsmouth Guildhall in protest of the cost of living on Marh 5, 2022. Picture: Jon Woods

Read More

Read More
Cheapest petrol near me: Fuel prices across Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport, Fareham...

Petrol prices have also surged recently, with concerns they will only increase amid the Ukraine war.

Jon Woods, chairman of the Portsmouth Trades Council, led the protest.

He said: ‘More and more people are facing the stark choice between trying feed their families or heating their homes.

Union members united on the steps of the Portsmouth Guildhall in protest of the cost of living on Marh 5, 2022. Picture: Jon Woods

‘The government needs to reinstate the £20 a week cut to universal credit and abandon the increase in national insurance.

‘Energy firms must be taken back into public ownership so that prices are controlled and their is mass investment in insulating homes. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak cannot sit back while living standards are cut and millions are forced into poverty.’

Unite community member Alan Burgess from Landport said he already could not afford to heat his home.

He told The News: ‘I will be hugely affected. I live in a small one-bed flat and through the winter I can’t afford to heat it.

‘I’m really alarmed by how many conversations I’ve had with my family and friends about how they are all being affected by the increase in fuel prices.

‘Added to that is the increase in national insurance in April.

‘What we are suffering from is really high inflation of seven or eight per cent when wages only increase between one and two per cent. Anyone can tell you that’s a six per cent pay cut.’

A second protest against rising prices will be held at Guildhall Square on April 2.

Other unions in attendance at the protest were Unison and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.