Tackling cost-of-living crisis must be Truss’s number one priority – unions

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Union leaders were scathing about how long it has taken to elect a new prime minister and made it clear that Liz Truss’s top priority must be tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Leaving the country rudderless all summer ​at a time of great emergency has been nothing short of a ​national disgrace.

“​The Government has got to get back to governing immediately. Liz Truss must do what should’ve happened months ago and deliver help to the millions ​unable to cope with ​their crushing bills.

“​Hard on the heels of ​an energy lifeline ​must be an above-inflation wage rise for the public services currently haemorrhaging staff to better-paying parts of the economy. If there’s no-one left to run the hospitals, schools, town halls, police stations and care homes communities rely on, we’ll all be done for.

“Cutting taxes only assists the better-off. It won’t help the hospital porters, teaching assistants, care staff or other low-paid ​workers one bit.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Liz Truss will not solve the cost-of-living crisis by attacking trade unions and making it even easier for bad bosses to do as they please.

“At a time when we face a national pay cut, the prime minister should be taking on the corporate profiteers that are pushing up prices, not workers fighting to stand still.

“Attempts to place effective industrial action outside of the law are a direct assault on the democratic rights of the British people and will be met with fierce, prolonged resistance.”

Transport Salaried Staffs Association general secretary Manuel Cortes said the new Conservative Party leader had “offered nothing” to deal with the economic crisis during a leadership contest which had been “a charade about which candidate is the best Thatcherite”.

He said: “Liz Truss comes into Downing Street with millions of people in our country desperate for help in the face of an escalating Tory cost-of-living crisis.

“Truss has offered nothing to date which suggests she, or her party, have a clue about how to deal with soaring energy prices, inflation and much more, including giving our members a pay rise which stops them becoming poorer.

“At a time when the British people need serious government, rather than parlour games, this has been a wasted summer of ineptitude and inaction.“

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Many of us watched Liz Truss’s leadership campaign in horror as she demonstrated economic illiteracy by promising unfunded tax cuts, disparaged desperately needed help on rocketing energy prices as ‘handouts’, and launched ideological attacks on trade union members engaged in lawful industrial action to secure a fairer deal in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.

“Such an attack on people protecting their incomes would clearly demonstrate the incoming prime minister has no understanding of the very real issues that face workers.”

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “I hope Liz Truss reflects on the important role our members play in keeping government running, and shelves plans to cut 91,000 Civil Service jobs.

“She must realise cuts have consequences, and, if she comes for our hard-working members’ jobs and working conditions, she’ll face opposition every step of the way.”

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Liz Truss should act in the national interest and play a positive role in helping to settle the rail dispute.

“This means investment in the railway infrastructure, unshackling Network Rail and the rail companies so we can come to a negotiated settlement on job security, pay and working conditions.

“This would be in the best interests of the travelling public, the rail industry and railway workers.”

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