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Europe's Inflation Crisis Raises the Risk of Social and Labor Unrest

MIN READAug 24, 2022 | 18:25 GMT

Supporters of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) protest in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 27, 2022, as part of a nationwide strike among U.K. rail workers.

Supporters of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) protest in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 27, 2022, as part of a nationwide strike among U.K. rail workers.

(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The threat of labor action in Spain highlights a broader risk that Europe's ongoing cost of living issues will keep the probability of social unrest high between late 2022 and early 2023, opening the door to additional disruptive labor action and grassroots mobilization. The Secretary General of Spain's General Union of Workers (UGT), Pepe Alvarez, said on Aug. 22 that ''there will be large demonstrations starting in September'' unless unions reach an agreement with the private sector to raise salaries across the country. According to Alvarez, UGT will seek to coordinate protests and strikes with other trade unions. While inflation in Spain reached 10.8% year-on-year in July, salaries only have risen on average by less than 3% during the same period, which explains why unions are pushing for a new round of wage negotiations with the government and private companies. Spain is far from being the only European country in...

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