Leeds cost-of-living protest gives a voice to growing resistance

02 October 2022

By Rebecca Anderson

The 1st October Enough is Enough day of action in Leeds began at 10am when a thousand people joined the picket line at the train station, spilling out into the road as we listened to the RMT speaker explain why they are striking and won’t give up, followed by chants of “Enough is Enough! Enough is Enough!”.

We marched to British Gas, a huge column of people shouting “E-on, what a con!” though the dark arches. On the steps of the energy company’s customer service centre, protesters gathered with their banners. “E-on, British Gas – give us back our bloody cash!”, “One, two, three, four – we won’t take it any more! Five, six, seven, eight – time to make the bosses pay!” and “‘we say no to higher prices, strike and fight for real pay rises!”

Across from British Gas, we burned energy bills, protesting rising fuel prices and the astronomical profits raked in by energy suppliers. The energy cap bakes in a 1.9% profit for the energy companies, so every time the cap rises so too do their profits.

We then marched to potal workers picket line at Holbeck delivery office, chanting en route “Liz Truss get out! We know what you’re all about: cuts, job losses, money for the bosses!.” The local CWU rep gave a fantastic speech, explaining that Royal Mail bosses have given themselves a 39% pay rise but want postal workers to settle for 2%. These workers, who risked their health during the pandemic while the bosses sat at home, are being threatened with attacks on their sick pay, hours of work and job security. In response to his announcement that the office is 100% unionised and not one member has crossed the picket line, the crowd chanted, “Every strike every time, we’ll be on the picket line!”

This protest, and the launch rally of 2,000 people just two weeks before, were a great, if belated, start to a cost-of-living movement in Leeds. To bring more people into this movement, to fight together for pay rises, organise un-unionised workers, demand nationalisation of the energy companies and link up with groups doing the same up and down the country we urgently need a Leeds cost-of-living campaign.

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