back to article Left-wing campaign group throws weight behind BT strikes

Left-wing firebrands behind the Enough is Enough campaign in the UK are throwing their weight behind the thousands of BT Group engineers and call center staff on the picket lines today in protest over pay. The latest strike started at midnight on August 30 and runs until midnight tonight. It follows earlier industrial action …

  1. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Why are BT workers going to food banks?

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      It's free food basically.

    2. Fonant

      Because the capitalist economy of the UK is collapsing. Because the rich have become too rich, and the poor too poor.

      Capitalism requires ever-increasing growth as a positive percentage each year. This is mathematically impossible as the growth tends to infinity. So every now and then the whole system has to crash and reset.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
        Facepalm

        [eyeroll]

        > This is mathematically impossible as the growth tends to infinity.

        Malthusian nonsense.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
          Facepalm

          ( Although ironically this nonsense is actually true in the socialist societies are the GP dreams of, where growth can only be achieved by increased resource consumption. In capitalist societies this is complete and utter rot.

          In capitalism, growth largely comes with decreased resource consumption over the long term due to competition causing increased efficiency. )

          1. AMBxx Silver badge
            Megaphone

            Socialism is just equality through universal poverty.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              That's exactly what big corporations and their shareholders want. People squabbling whether it is socialism or capitalism and not noticing they are getting poorer and poorer, while at it.

              The thing is, people at the top are greedy and evil regardless of economical framework they operate in. You can't change human nature.

              That being said, capitalism has been more inclusive if you wanted a life beyond being a mere cog in the machine and start your own business. But as time goes by, big corporations ensure any ladders they can find are pulled up and both sides are cheering that - after all corruption is agnostic when it comes to political alignment and big corporations hate competition any anyone challenging the status quo.

              1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                All of which is true. And competition, not regulation, is the answer.

                1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                  Ah, I thought I'd find you two here. If only we could make the world match this view from this comment thread, what a cosy place it would be.

                  Crisis, what Crisis? Food banks are great because it means people are generous! Regulation stops businesses from whatever they please, and is therefore bad! And even if it turns out that without it, Companies will trample over the law, the community, the environment and their own staff, that's just how things are and we might as well accept it.

                  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
                    Flame

                    Crisis, what Crisis? Food banks are great because it means people are generous!

                    I'm looking forward to the warm banks. People will take

                    Tupperware boxes full of warm from their home to donate to the warm banks for other people to take home.

                    Oh, it won't work like that. This time the British government has actually got to spend money... or maybe not, perhaps they'll just blame libraries and museums for not turning the heating on and of course no client journalist will bother telling them it's because they don't have the budget to pay for heating.

                    1. lostsomehwere

                      If the government spends more who gives them the extra money to spend?

                      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                        The energy producers who are currently predicted to make £170bn excess profits over the next two years above what they would normally make, with a windfall tax.

                        By the way your question is phrased I'm guessing you'll say that that would be against their corporate rights.

                2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                  You can't have competition without regulation. For instance, in sports it is forbidden to use illegal performance enhancing substances, to ensure competition is fair.

                  Unfortunately it is not as good as in the economy. Big corporations can afford to apply various tax "minimisation" strategies getting a competitive advantage over small business and they also have money to lobby the tax man to never look into their affairs, and at the same time encouraging to hound those pesky little enterprises, because god forbid they could one day become a serious competition.

                  We need to do a lot. When a CEO pays themselves 50-100x the average wage in their company, that should be classed as embezzlement and illegal. HMRC needs to have a look into transactions of big corporations and where the money goes and how they are shifting profits offshore.

                  We need to ensure that corporations pay wages high enough so that workers don't have to claim benefits.

                  Most importantly we need to properly tackle corruption, when a politician caught accepting "a donation" knows they'll spend long time in prison and they won't wiggle out of that.

                3. Binraider Silver badge

                  Competition only works IF it is in an investors interests to compete. In the UK market, not competing actually means you are more profitable. c.f. Centrica's profits at highest level for about 20 years.

                  Good Regulation, or preferably central planning is needed to eliminate stupid design decisions in multiple markets that do not favour consumers.

                  But trying to preach sense to a diehard tory profiteer is akin to flogging a dead horse. You're all-right jack, but what about the vast majority of people on average salaries?

                  The disparity between have and have not is large and growing; and we have had enough of the Rees-Moggian victorian dystopian vision you are a fan of.

                4. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

                  Yes, because 'competition' has worked so well for the privatised industries in the UK, hasn't it? Well, for the shareholders, anyway.

                  1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                    IF you look at the actual facts then yes, privatisation has been a miracle for UK consumers.

                    1. Binraider Silver badge

                      How so? We have disposed our natural resources at a rate of knots and low prices to make a fast buck.

                      Your lot are quick to accuse Gordon Brown of selling off the gold reserve. And I'm as quick to point out that your lot auctioned off our natural gas (when we had a perfectly good alternative 40 years ago in the form of Nuclear) because they didn't want to foot the bill for the transition.

                      Basically the last 40 years of government have had absolutely no eye for long term planning and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

              2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                "That's exactly what big corporations and their shareholders want. People squabbling whether it is socialism or capitalism and not noticing they are getting poorer and poorer, while at it."

                Hmmn, which group blames 'corporations' for fantasies about people getting poorer when they're actually getting richer?

                1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                  They can't rail against "the man" if everything is great, can they?

                  They'll grow out of it.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                big corporations hate regulation as well as competition

                "People squabbling whether it is socialism or capitalism and not noticing they are getting poorer and poorer, while at it.

                The thing is, people at the top are greedy and evil regardless of economical framework they operate in. "

                So be straightforward about and call it for what it is: corporate kleptocracy.

                Not that changing the name will fix anything. But it might be a start.

          2. Filippo Silver badge

            Both "socialism" and "capitalism" are terms that have become so overloaded as to be essentially meaningless.

            Depending on who's talking, "socialism" can usually mean anything from the USSR to Sweden. But it can sometimes get stretched even further, covering anything from utopian perfect-government states that never existed, to pretty much the whole world except a few semi-anarchic places like Somalia, again depending on what point is being made.

            Similarly, "capitalism" can encompass anything from basically the whole world except a few extreme dictatorships like North Korea, all the way to utopian small-government states that never existed.

            Because of this, I would be very wary of discussions based around these terms, unless a whole lot of additional clarification is deployed.

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
              Facepalm

              > Depending on who's talking, "socialism" can usually mean anything from the USSR to Sweden

              No.

              Socialists who are confused ( but I repeat myself ) will tell you that Sweden is Socialist. It isn't.

              It follows a political system called Social Democracy. That is a centre-left ideology which happens to have a similar name to Socialism.

              1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                You've just said in socialist societies "... growth can only be achieved by increased resource consumption...", and then you decide that countries like Sweden aren't socialist, which is convenient as they experience growth.

                So I have to ask - exactly which socialist societies have you based your learned discourse on? Perhaps enlighten us with real-world example of the failures of socialism, to give some context to your war against it. Because at the moment it sounds a bit like "Socialism is anything I deem a failure due to social policy", which quite a high bar to clear.

                I'm more than happy to respond with some failures of free-market, regulation free capitalism if you think that will help? I have a few hundred issues of Private Eye here, it's no trouble.

                1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                  > and then you decide that countries like Sweden aren't socialist,

                  Just because you are confused over two similar phrases being similar, doesn't mean they are the same. I'll write them out next to each other so you can compare:

                  Socialism

                  Social Democracy

                  Do you see now how the words are different?

                  1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                    Yes, those are different words. Very good, thank you. Are you able to answer my question now?

                    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                      I'm not going to play that game with somebody so stupid that they think socialism is viable. I've got better things to do.

                2. codejunky Silver badge

                  @Androgynous Cupboard

                  "So I have to ask - exactly which socialist societies have you based your learned discourse on?"

                  I cant speak for Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells but the problem with nailing down a socialist country is the abandoning by socialists once it fails. A good read-

                  https://iea.org.uk/publications/socialism-the-failed-idea-that-never-dies/

                  Sweden did try socialism but was smart enough to pull back when it caused massive damage, instead the nordics mostly moved into high redistribution free markets. The nordic countries got offended by Bernie when he called them socialist (he ment it in good terms and they know its an insult).

                  "I'm more than happy to respond with some failures of free-market, regulation free capitalism if you think that will help?"

                  The joy of this is there are actual success stories of free market and low regulation (throughout history, through the world) unlike socialism. The nearest to success for socialism so far has been N.Korea.

                  1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                    Re: @Androgynous Cupboard

                    > The nearest to success for socialism so far has been N.Korea.

                    Gosh, I was right about that high bar wasn't I?

                    I suppose then, I'm left wondering why so many commenters - yourself, our perpetually Disgusted colleague and El Sergio above in particular - constantly rail against the evil lunacy of Socialism, given it is only practiced by the pariah state of North Korea? Surely we're in as much danger from Socialism as we are from the governing policies of Sparta, or Lilliput, or the perils of government by Gameshow hosts?

                    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
                      Facepalm

                      Re: @Androgynous Cupboard

                      There are plenty of examples of socialism throughout the last century or so.

                      Every single one ends up with a famine and either the collapse of the state or ( in probably every case ) the murder or arrest of opposition figures and "hostile" journalists.

                      Look at Ukraine under Stalin. Look at Ethiopia in the 80's. Look at Cuba ( that's a slow motion car crash ). Look at Venezuela. Look at the Soviet Union.

                      Socialism has never succeeded. Ever.

                      1. This post has been deleted by its author

                      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

                        Re: @Androgynous Cupboard

                        You make the traditional confusion in the US between Communism and Socialism, to vilify the former. Classic straw man fallacy.

                        Social democracy is a branch of Socialism. "Social democracy is a left-wing political, social, and economic philosophy within socialism that supports political and economic democracy".

                        Claiming it cannot be successful is negated by facts.

                        == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

                      3. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: @"top capitalists"

                        How well has capitalism been doing in the last few decades in the allegedly-cpaitalist West?

                        In the last two decades we've seen (among other things):

                        * the US automotive industry being in deep shit, to the extent that it ought to have just been allowed to collapse. "True capitalism" would have let it fail, but it was actually rescued by the US government . How capitalist is that?

                        * the UK casino banking sector collapsing in on itself like the post-BigBang mirage it was, and the costs of its unnecessary and irrelevant rescue still being paid by the Great British Public. For the foreseeable future. Is that capitalist or socialist?

                        * Way back in the 60s when a "socialist"(?) UK government saw that marfket competition in the high street banking sector wasn't working well for the Great British Public, they founded the Girobank concept. A huge branch network for easy access, and a business model based on efficiently and conveniently processing a huge volume of transactions.

                        Girobank was actually so successful that the model spread round the world, and in many places it lives on. Unfortunately for Joe Public in the UK it was yet another threat to the derelict Mainwaring-era UK retail banking sector and therefore Girobank had to be got rid of. Once Girobank was killed off the high street banks could return to the joys of commission-driven sales of financial trickery such as endowment mortgages and liar loans, payment protection insurance, defined contribution pensions, and other such treats for the financial powers that be - the same kind of financial and technical wizardry that duly brought the UK the Post Office's/Fujitsu's "Horizon" mass theft system?

                        The state of the telco and energy sectors in the UK is just too painful to write about.

                        Capital punishment is what "top capitalists" need.

                    2. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: @Androgynous Cupboard

                      @Androgynous Cupboard

                      "Gosh, I was right about that high bar wasn't I?"

                      It can be considered a high bar to expect actual examples of success but then its also a minimum for something that works. Have a read of the book, you should be able to download it for free.

                      "constantly rail against the evil lunacy of Socialism, given it is only practised by the pariah state of North Korea?"

                      It isnt only practised by N.Korea. Thats the nearest thing to a success for socialism. Venezuela gave it a shot bringing them to their current utopia. Railing against certain failure to avoid repeating the certain failure is not a bad thing. I assume you would want someone to stop you from running into fire just because you think its beautiful and walk toward it?

                      "Surely we're in as much danger from Socialism as we are from the governing policies of Sparta, or Lilliput, or the perils of government by Gameshow hosts?"

                      If the dumb idea would die off then yes, but it doesnt. Go read that book and you might see why this is so dangerous a problem.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @Androgynous Cupboard

                    Dear oh dear, linking to the IEA. That's as dodgy as linking to the Centre for Policy Studies from the other day.

                    Why do you always quote from these opaquely funded corporate shills where nobody knows who's paying? Try something more normal if you can, where the methodology and the funding is known.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @Androgynous Cupboard

                      codejunky Rightwing Repost Bingo:

                      CapX

                      Tim Worstall's Blog

                      NetZeroWatch

                      IEA

                      HOUSE !

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "It follows a political system called Social Democracy. That is a centre-left ideology which happens to have a similar name to Socialism."

                Except that the now-apparently-accepted (i.e. 'loudest') view in this modern, 21st-century, loving and understanding world we find ourselves living in, is that anyone with a viewpoint that is centre- (or anywhere-further-)right thinks that 'centre-left' is basically 'socialism' and anyone spouting it should be burned at the stake (and, to be fair, vice versa).

                So, in real-world terms... your point is?

                Does anyone centre-or-further-right actually give a toss as to the techical nomenclature, or actual differences of anyone left-of-centre (and, to be fair, vice versa)?

                A/C

                1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                  Centre left is unoptimal but safe. I would grudgingly live under a Starmer government.

                  Far-left is dangerous. I would have fled if Corbyn won in 2019. And you should (have) too.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    "I would have fled if Corbyn won in 2019"

                    Really? You think Johnson, Truss, Sunak, Kwarteng and the whole Britannia Unchained mob are any better?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Britannia Unhinged

                      Following on from "You think Johnson, Truss, Sunak, Kwarteng and the whole Britannia Unchained mob are any better [than Corbyn or even the invisible Starmer]?

                      Given the Westminster events of the last few days, and the impending national and indeed global chaos (catastrophes?) of the next few days and decades, it might be worth having a look at this article if you've not seen it before:

                      https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/britannia-unchained-liz-truss-kwasi-kwarten (published 22 Sep 2022)

                      e.g. "Many of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s plans are detailed in an economically illiterate pamphlet they published 10 years ago this month "

                      Read them and weep.

              3. Filippo Silver badge

                > No.

                And yet there are twelve posts under my own, at the time of writing, debating what "socialism" means. If you want to say that they are all confused, be my guest, but you can't deny that the confusion exists.

                1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                  People who think socialism is a good thing are confused over what it is.

                  This phenomena isn't new.

            2. Len

              Hhmm, neither Sweden or the USSR have ever been Socialist. Sweden has a long tradition in Social Democracy and the USSR had a long tradition in Communism.

              Social Democracy is inherently Capitalist although with many guard rails to prevent market failure or too much inequality. Communism is pretty far removed from Capitalism.

              Socialism, rare in practice (I’d struggle to name a country in Europe that has had an enduring experiment with Socialism, Western Europe tended to always prefer Social Democracy over Socialism. Perhaps Albania?), would sit somewhere on the spectrum between Social Democracy and Communism when it comes to its economic model.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Yugoslavia was in theory socialist until Tito died and it relaxed into capitalism and civil war.

          3. Paul 195

            "In capitalism, growth largely comes with decreased resource consumption over the long term due to competition causing increased efficiency."

            Often asserted, but rarely demonstrated in real life. If this was true, BT would be able to pay its workers handsomely as well as paying good dividends. However, what we are seeing here is what is euphemistically known as "sweating the assets". That is, squeeze as much as you can from workers to give the impression you are somehow magically doing more with less.

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          It's not just Malthus. It's a key part of Mein Kampf.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            The main misunderstanding is that all growth is Malthusian and therefore capitalism's growth is harmful rather than the opposite.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              "not all growth is Malthusian" is not the same as "no growth is Malthusian"

        3. Tom 7 Silver badge

          We did a little feedback in year one Electronic Systems or something. It never ceases to amaze me how people who claim to understand economics either dont have a clue about it or claim the market will sort it all out. And sure enough boom and bust boom and bust.

          Then we did transformers in Electrical Eng and I realised you need boom and bust for the people who have lots of money to suck more from the economy.which is a lot easier if you get to fund Economics and not tell people about the feedback thing.

        4. jmch Silver badge

          Malthusian nonsense is that supply is not only finite but relatively fixed. Humans have gotten around the supposed 'fixedness' of supply by expanding both the amount of the Earth we are drawing resources from, and the technological capability to extract more and more value from those resources. Malthus's thought exercise wasn't incorrect, it was just an over-simplified model.

          However, just because Malthus was wrong does not mean that there actually is infinite capacity. In theory humanity could expand to occupy the entire Earth (we're not quite far by the way), and beyond into other planets and solar systems, and technological capability will continue to grow.

          In practice there are physical constraints on both expansion and technology that limit the potential for both rate of expansion and total expansion. Targeting ever-increasing wealth as practiced in capitalist economies is just a target, but it is not practically reachable - In practice most GDP growth is on numbers on a balance sheet, which is mostly offset by rises in the cost of living. Investors are fooled into thinking their investment value is up by double-digit &ages while the real value has barely budged, and any gains are eroded by inflation.

          Real GDP is fairly flat...

          https://www.dallasfed.org/research/basics/nominal.aspx

          ...and mostly increases due to population increases. Real GDP per capita is practically flat in advanced economies. It only increases where there is a low baseline, or where due to some tax loopholes there is exceptional on-paper growth (see Ireland in chart below, whose numbers are boosted by tech companies tax shenanigans, but little of that value goes to the people in Ireland)

          https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=File:Change_in_real_GDP_per_capita,_by_country,_2015-2020_%28average_annual_growth_rate_in_%25%29.png

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            @jmch

            "Targeting ever-increasing wealth as practiced in capitalist economies is just a target, but it is not practically reachable - In practice most GDP growth is on numbers on a balance sheet, which is mostly offset by rises in the cost of living"

            Cost of living has until very recent screw ups fallen. Food costs a small portion of pretty much every ones budget in the developed countries vs being almost everything earned previously. Adam Smith and the linen shirt or even that global absolute poverty has fallen shows increasing actual wealth.

            Recent complaints about how central heating bills are going up is due to central heating now being classed as a necessity even though its not been common in the home until fairly recently. You can be poor while carrying more computing power in your pocket than the Apollo space shuttle and able to communicate with people anywhere around the world. To access the worlds repository of information and education as a child in school.

            "Real GDP is fairly flat..."

            The links you provide only seem to cover a really short period of years and particularly seem to focus on after the last financial crisis (2008). This has a little bit longer-

            https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/real-gdp-per-capita-pennwt?time=2019

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: @jmch

              @codejunky

              Thanks for the link, and you are right about the general increase in quality of life in the last 2 centuries. A couple of observations ...

              The improvement in GDP per capita is almost linear in most western countries, but CEOs made 30X what an employee made in the 50s, and now CEOs are making 300 or more X more than their employees. The 'per capita' is a simple average. US GDP per capita in last 30 years is up 60+%. Meanwhile, median household income has risen about 20%. Simplified version is that in the last 20-40 years as restraints have been lifted off capitalism, most of the benefits have accrued to the richest individuals and less so to everyone else. This is what the BT workers are protesting - it isn't just their tiny increase, its the corresponding giant profit the company made and the gigantic raise the CEO got. Almost as if the directors think that the companies' profits are due far more to the CEO than to teh people doing the actual work.

              The type of 'socialism' where union leaders acted as mafia bosses and people were content to not do any work because they'll be taken care of anyway was deeply destructive. Equally destructive is a capitalism where the people at the top take what they want simply because they can and screw the rest.

              Regarding the 'Malthusianism', improvement in quality of life and GDP while clearly non-Malthusian still has its limits, which is why developed countries development is slowing down or stagnating and developing countries are catching up.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @jmch

              "Apollo space shuttle"

              Was that part of the Secret Space Program?

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Why are BT workers going to food banks?

        Because 6 months ago Mr Putin decided to declare war start a Special Military Operation to invade and subjugate liberate Ukraine in a short victorious war that would only last 3 days.

        He then released his victory speech early which said that his easy victory in Ukraine showed the collapse of western civilisation, and that the east part of NATO was next and we wouldn't care enough about them to do anything about it which would lead to the end of NATO and the domination of strong countries and leaders like Putin.

        Everybody in Europe promptly decided that they'd really rather not conscript all the millennials and send them off the fight in places that most of them couldn't find on a map because it might not be a vote winner with those millennials, and started emptying out storehouses of old military gear to the Ukrainians, who despite lacking training and trying to master equipment with instruction manuals in a hundred languages have used it to wipe the floor with the numerically superior Russian Army.

        Putin then fell back on Plan B, and basically said "give me Ukraine via stopping giving them weapons and pictures from your satellites etc and i'll give you cheap food and gas again" and then stopped exporting fertiliser, food or gas to Europe in the hope that it'll cause social unrest and revolutions. The price would of course just be to give him Ukraine for the moment, and once we'd thrown one country under the bus this would of course expand to most of Eastern Europe further down the line bite by bite.

        As a lot of political activist groups have been arguing that doing anything but buying gas from Putin is terrible, too many countries have done that and left themselves reliant upon Russian gas. The same people have also been promoting "rewilding" which means reducing food output by turning fields that produce food we can eat into nature parks and buying food from Russia etc.

        Hence natural gas prices have risen by 6x as demand radically outstrips supply, while food is also becoming more expensive because we aren't producing enough of it. This means that most people are finding their pay packets squeezed hard as the cost of living rises wiping out their disposable income.

        The solutions involve:-

        1) Stop adding 10% bio ethanol to fuel, because this means growing things we could eat, and then turning them into booze to pour into petrol. If we eat it instead, we'd have less of a food problem.

        2) Reverse energy policies which encourage covering fields that could grow things with solar panels.

        3) Stop rewilding and any other form of policy other than promoting farmers growing food to eat.

        4) Produce our own gas instead of importing it.

        5) Open up mines for coal and start feeding it into the coal plants and the "biomass plants" that are just old coal plants anyway.

        6) build nuclear on a large scale to replace coal and gas in the longer term.

        My view; the greens will successfully block any attempt to do any of these for the moment, and aggravate the problem until their public support gets eroded away as people see how idiotic their energy policies are, a process which will take effect after huge energy bills start hitting home.

        I'd imagine that we'll start talking about some of these probably January or February because the Russian desired alternative of the British public overthrowing our government in favour of somebody who wants to give a dictator Europe chunk by chunk won't happen because nobody wants to conscript a generation to go and die in Europe's fields again.

        Unfortunately, it's probably already too late to do anything about this winter and it's going to take several years worth of pain to resolve afterwards.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Because 6 months ago Mr Putin

          No, energy prices started rising in the beginning of 2021.

          Infographic - Energy price rise in 2021

          Also, in a market where tomorrow's price is set by today's fossil fuel and gas spot price, the solution will not be found in more fossil fuel and gas.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            energy prices started rising in the beginning of 2021.

            Very true.

            That prompted me to take action and invest some money in making my home more self sufficient when it comes to Energy. I got lucky but only because I was thinking ahead.

          2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            Covid suppressed consumption and we overproduced causing prices to crash.

            That led to a tightening of supply. Covid then "ended" and consumption increased but supply lagged. Hence the price rises.

            However that doesn't remotely account for the current spike in prices ( 447p/therm compared to less than 50p/therm before Covid ).

            1. Shalghar Bronze badge

              "Covid suppressed consumption and we overproduced causing prices to crash."

              "Covid" did nothing except making people sick. If you take a look at misguided politics like lockdowns and other invasive and economically damaging measures, theres your cause for unemployment, less money earnt and less money spent.

        2. CB__

          A comment, not an essay please. I got bored after the first two paragraphs.

        3. Shalghar Bronze badge

          "Because 6 months ago Mr Putin decided to declare war start a Special Military Operation to invade and subjugate liberate Ukraine in a short victorious war that would only last 3 days."

          As many other countries have played the invasion/intervention game for decades, this incident cannot be the trigger. Try taking a look at the seppuku sanctions which include cutting off "putin" from s.w.i.f.t. which would basically mean the evil russians have to keep up the exports without being paid. Cut off from western banking system equals no more trade with western countries who only accept payments and financial transactions through s.w.i.f.t..

          No worries for "putin" though, as "he" now exports the evil russian oil to china and india and while german refineries dry out because "our friends" in poland want to extort a handsome bakshish for letting their un-evil oil imports through. To get a bit of diesel, germany pays our "indian friends" to send some over, too bad the "good" indian diesel is largely refined from "evil"russian oil.

          Meanwhile, la grande nation (france) imports evil russian LNG instead of freedom fracking gas at an increased rate.

          Look a bit into the mess made by "western morale" politics and the negative aspects of the economic fallout of the seppuku sanctions dont bother "putin" too much - they just increase the incentive to push the already planned pipelines to china a bit higher on the agenda while europe dries out on the barren anthill of "morale" high ground.

          But then again, there are still individuals believing in "putin" blowing up the pipelines and cutting off his last diplomatic leg and there are even dumber individuals believing in the fairytales of weapons grade washing machine chips in missile guidance systems and battle tank turret controls.

          Meanwhile, "our always supported friends" in the ukraine pay the price of western "morale" with their lives in a needlessly prolonged mass slaughtering. Well done.

      3. Robert Grant Silver badge

        It's not capitalism. Nothing you've said is the case. I was asking a genuine question, and it's annoying to have it derailed with nonsense.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why are BT workers going to food banks?

      Prices are increasing, the Netflix & Amazon prime subs are due, and someone's giving away food? What's not to like!

    4. anothercynic Silver badge

      Because they can't afford to pay their rent, pay their energy bills *and* feed themselves and/or their children.

      Food banks are meant to be an emergency measure, but it appears that some organisations and one party in particular believe that they're just there for the taking. Unfortunately, Trussell Trust, who run a whole network of them, are pointing out that while usage has gone up a lot, those donating to TT to be able to run their food banks has gone down too as people tighten their own belts.

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        But why can't they afford it? E.g. "their salaries are this" would be an answer.

  2. R Soul Bronze badge

    enough is enough

    What's "left wing" about campaigning for pay rises that reflect the cost of living?

    And why is El Reg channelling the Daily Heil?

    1. Old Tom

      Re: enough is enough

      Well they describe themselves - https://wesayenough.co.uk/about-us/ - in a way that most people would call left wing. Are you really suggesting that they're not?

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: enough is enough

        What he means is that he supports them, therefore they aren't "left" or "right", but correct.

        This increasingly common misunderstanding is one of the many bad things to have happened to happen to political discourse.

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: enough is enough

      > And why is El Reg channelling the Daily Heil?

      How so? The article is reporting on the strike, and it's giving most of its space to the workers' reasons, often using the group's own words. It's not attempting to misquote, distort or otherwise counter them, as right-wing reporting often does. What's wrong? Is it because the campaign is labeled "left-wing"? It's not an insult, you know.

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: enough is enough

        > 's not attempting to misquote, distort or otherwise counter them, as right-wing reporting often does

        Left wing reporting does this too. The quest for clicks has driven incredible tribalism in media; there's no need for us to participate in it.

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: enough is enough

      "What's 'left wing' about campaigning for pay rises that reflect the cost of living?"

      The overall policies and wishes of EiE are left wing - classic trade unionism - looking through them. It's not a pejorative, it's an observation.

      It's funny how some people think we're beyond-woke liberal morons and others think we're channeling the Daily Mail. It's like there's a spectrum of ideologies and we're trying to find a decent spot in the middle.

      I have a feeling some of those upset by 'left-wing firebrands' weren't upset we called Boris Johnson a 'Churchill cosplayer'.

      C.

      1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

        Re: enough is enough

        I'm more irritated by your attempts to Americanise the El Reg of old.

      2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: enough is enough

        > I have a feeling some of those upset by 'left-wing firebrands' weren't upset we called Boris Johnson a 'Churchill cosplayer'.

        The very same people who made a baby baloon of Trump and called him all manner of names, but then stamped their feet when Truss pointed out that Macron was behaving in a less than friendly manner toward Britain.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: enough is enough

          You can't fail to have noticed that Macron's justification for being less than friendly are the incessant right wing lunacy presented by your lot, particularly the ERG;ers and the Trump brigade

          Even Boris was wise enough to recognise that the swing in the US back to Centre-Right from Far right was a good thing (albeit one that will take a bloody age to come back to any semblance of normality).

          1. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: enough is enough

            > by your lot

            Ah, the tribalism again. So glad I checked back!

  3. Lordrobot

    Look for the UNION LABEL...

    And sell short...

  4. MJI Silver badge

    UK news Merkin spelling

    This site is going down hill fast

    1. CB__

      Re: UK news Merkin spelling

      Downhill, or down the hill? Since you're talking of spelling...

    2. Nifty Silver badge

      Re: UK news Merkin spelling

      How to create a bar magnet. Take a rectangular piece of iron and shout the words "food bank" then stand well back.

      It will have instantly polarised.

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        Re: UK news Merkin spelling

        Nowadays, you can put up a photo of a kitten or puppy and someone will try to turn it into a political statement of their own choosing... *sigh*

  5. MJI Silver badge

    Translation site here

    https://smallseotools.com/translate-english-to-english/

    Left-wing firebrands behind the Enough is Enough campaign in the UK are throwing their weight behind the thousands of BT Group engineers and call centre staff on the picket lines today in protest over pay.

    The latest strike started at midnight on 30 August and runs until midnight tonight. It follows earlier industrial action on July 29 and August 1, the first nationwide strikes by BT employees since 1987.

    Now the Enough is Enough UK group, set up to organise a series of rallies across Britain to pressure the government to provide more assistance to working-class people amidst the cost-of-living crisis, has backed the plight of Openreach engineers and those in BT's call centres.

    In a Facebook post, it highlights that BT boss Philip Jansen received a 32 percent pay hike this year to £3.5 million ($4 million) while the corporation made £1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) in nett profit and distributed £761 million ($887 million) to shareholders.

    "Meanwhile its workers were using foodbanks," the group said, adding that it backs the thousands of BT staff who are downing tools. "We're right behind them. Pay up, Foodbank Phil."

    According to the Big Issue in June, staff at a BT call centre for mobile division EE set up a food bank in the northwest of England. BT branded it as more a convenience to those who couldn't get to the supermarket.

    BT union announces 48-hour strike action in protest over pay

    UK government will not step in over Altice's growing stake in BT

    UK blocks sale of chip design software company to China

    UK blocks sale of chip design software company to China

    The group has put together a strike map showing all the locations where BT workers have downed tools.

    One BT staffer said in response to the campaign group's posting that he had nothing against shareholders receiving dividends and company execs making big money "but there has to be a balance."

    The dispute centres on BT offering 58,000 frontline workers a pay award of £1,500 for the year without consulting the Communication Workers Union. BT said this was the highest offer it could manage amidst the cost of building next-generation networks across Britain, and it was the highest such offer to the workforce in years.

    The CWU, which represents thousands of BT staff, disagreed. It wants a 10 percent pay rise and pointed to executive pay, company profits, and dividends to shareholders as evidence BT could afford to pay more to help staff manage the steep inflation situation in Britain, which could rise by up to 13 percent in 2022.

    With BT refusing to reopen pay discussions, the CWU balloted members employed at the company and some 26,000 voted for industrial action.

    Of the BT strike action to date, the company previously told us it kept the network running "safely and effectively… and there were no national incidents." The CWU said the action was damaging and should work as a wake-up call to management. The CWU has also approached BT's largest investors to convince them the staff deserve more money than was offered.

    The game of corporate chicken continues. ®

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    General strike

    Just imagine if all workers at medium to large-sized companies with C-suite executives on obscene salaries (i.e. ALL of them) down tools?

    Et voilà! General strike in time for Christmas.

  7. ElRegioLPL

    Some of these comments are grim.

    Berating people for wanting more money during a cost of living crisis when you all wouldn't think twice about asking for a pay rise yourself. You'd be hard pressed to even find a PHP Developer on less than £30k now. The median salary in the UK is £ 25,971. Electricity is going through the roof with potentially £5k of that £25k being spent on electric alone.

    To say people go to food banks for 'free food' ? Fuck off and get a grip.

    I have done a lot of work in that area and I will tell you now, you couldn't be further from the truth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, some comments are grim.

      I am certain that some of the people are sociopaths or psychopaths. The usual line from them is that people turning up to use foodbanks are leeches, don't want to work, turn up to the foodbank with nice cars, smoking, have the latest mobile, and too many kids.

      It seems to be pure hatred of others in their hearts, and unless someone cannot be denigrated, they don't enjoy their life.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Asking for more money is fine. Changing jobs to get more money is fine.

      Forming a cartel of employees and starting a protection racket (nice telephone system, tube system, etc you've got here...) isn't fine.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Trollface

        Quote

        "Forming a cartel of employees and starting a protection racket (nice telephone system, tube system, etc you've got here...) isn't fine."

        Wow thats pretty strong trolling there(either that or they're the last person on duty in conservative central office)

        Let me introduce you to friends of mine thanks to that cartel of employees

        First called "saturday" and the reason you dont work it is because of that cartel(unless you want to)

        Also theres "Health and safety" so that your office is nice and warm instead of huddling around a candle

        And "Holidays" (well actually Holidays beyond Christmas day and good friday)

        And "40 hr/5 day week" instead of "72 hrs/ 6day week"

        And "Employment rights" so you cannot be fired just because the boss is tired of your face

        And "... " well you get the idea

        Now if you're happy working 12 hr days for 6 days a week for 1 & 6 a day with no job security plus equipment that can tear you in 1/2 while you doff your cap to your boss.... you go ahead

        But back to BT..... I suspect they voted for strike action because of the dickhead of the year award* move of paying the CEO 32% more and offering the workforce 1.5%.........

        that never goes down well

        *this award is very hotly contested this year.....

        1. CB__

          I think I can tell which of Disgusted vs Boris are in the private vs public sector. Boris: an employment contract will dictate which days you work and how much holiday you'll get per year -- you get to choose whether you agree to that contract, or to negotiate it if you don't like what's being offered. Similarly, employment rights, and health and safety, have long since been statutory (written into law). I don't agree with exploitation in any form, but too many public sector workers expect the world on a plate, and don't realise that most of us in the private sector are not fat cat execs, but hard working folk. Those of us who are small business owners regularly work 60+ hour weeks trying to make a success of our ventures with very little help from the government, maintaining a payroll for our staff, and end up take home less per month than you do. So please do bear that in mind.

          1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

            Public sector? me?

            Sorry m8 I work for a private manufacturing company playing with robotic machining cells

            The reason those statutory rights are written into law is because unions/labour put them there, not because the tories were feeeling generous.

            And remember the tories dont exactly love small businesses....... the best way to get my boss frothing at the mouth is to mention how big companies are allowed to profit shift thus avoiding paying any tax on said profit... and he cant....

          2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            …and I’m going to bet that those shouting for slashing workers rights are long since retired with Mortgages paid off.

  8. ElRegioLPL

    The hypocrisy of you lot crying about ‘getting handed things on a plate’ when you are probably getting paid cash in hand, through dividends & a director’s loan is beautiful.

    How dare the little people join a union!

    For the record I’m in the private sector and this month paid more tax than I took home in my first job out of uni 4 years ago. But I still understand & live in the real world

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      > [ left wing diatribe ]

      ...

      > my first job out of uni 4 years ago.

      1. MisterHappy

        Is your reply to this comment disparaging the persons age or the fact that they went to uni?

        Not all people who went to uni are from wealth and/or privilege, some of them worked damn hard.

        Not all 'younger people' are feckless wastrels either.

        Commenting as an old fart who never went to uni.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          I'm pointing out that the person who hasn't grown out of left wing politics yet is very young and that when he grows up, he'll grow out of them.

          1. Binraider Silver badge

            Our resident sociopath spouting tosh once again. What on earth has age got do do with ‘growing out of political views’.

            You really do not give two hoots about anyone but yourself, do you?

            Maybe you are one of the 0.01% rolling in it off the work done by others; or, more likely, you have just spent one day too many taking the Torygraph at face value while actually being shafted.

            The privileges and access you’ve had; cheap property, education, disposable income to re-invest,etc are being denied to the new generation; and you’re quite content to insult that entire generation and say grow up for demanding something different.

            I have little else to say to you suitable for a public forum. As per your username, you are the very stereotype that you set out to be; and a shining example of the reason the death rate and Tory vote share change are synonymous.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Hey, Boomer!"

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    At a time when workers worldwide have to cope with a high inflation rate and few or no raise, shareholders across the World never got so much money.

    This is unfair. Profits must be fairly shared.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

  10. Alex Stuart

    Plenty of money to spare

    > highlights that BT boss Philip Jansen received a 32 percent pay hike this year to £3.5 million ($4 million) while the corporation made £1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) in net profit and distributed £761 million ($887 million) to shareholders

    £761m in dividend payouts yet I'm still stuck with 30Mb internet within spitting distance of one of the biggest cities in the UK. Not quite got rid of the 'British' in 'British Telecom' I suppose.

  11. bigtreeman

    Capitalism doesn't add up

    Comrades,

    Capitalism doesn't add up.

    It isn't any better than the feudal system.

    The oligarchical system rules over much of the world,

    with the 'democratic politicians' being their pawns.

    Any country which deviates to the left is destroyed with embargoes and sanctions.

    and for 'Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells', 4 years out of Uni and not a lifetime of experience,

    When you have experienced the world with open eyes for 60+ years you should have become a socialist.

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