Influenced by rising energy prices and high inflation levels, a number of industries in the UK have recently held strikes one after another.
On February 1, local time, British teachers, civil servants, railroad workers, bus drivers and security personnel and other employees in many fields held a strike.
According to the statistics of the British trade unions, the total number of people involved in the strike is estimated to be 500,000. According to AFP, this is the largest strike held in Britain in about 10 years.
In the massive strike, thousands of schools in Britain closed, rail transport services were disrupted, and border officials responsible for immigration checks at airports and ports stopped working. Firefighters and doctors and nurses from the NHS have also voted to join the strike.
The strikes have had a serious impact on education and commuting, and the economic losses may be as high as 200 million pounds. In addition, about 23,000 public schools are expected to be forced to close, and millions of students can not attend classes.
Mark, the secretary general of the British civil service union, said the high number of strikers shows the need for urgent action to deal with the cost of living crisis.
The strikers are said to be demanding that the government give a pay rise above the country's inflation to cover soaring food and energy bills. They say current wage levels make it difficult to pay these high bills.
According to data released by the Office for National Statistics on January 18, the U.K. Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 10.5 percent year-on-year in December 2022, with the rate of increase narrowing for two consecutive months, but food and drink prices rose to the maximum since September 1977.
Data from the Office for National Statistics show that although British inflation hit a 40-year high last year, the average wage in the U.K. public sector, excluding bonuses, rose only 2.7 percent during the August-October period last year; by comparison, wages in the country's private sector rose by 6.9 percent during the same period.
According to the British Center for Economics and Business Research estimates, the economic losses caused by the strike in the eight months to January 2023 is about 1.7 billion pounds (about 2.09 billion U.S. dollars), accounting for about 0.1% of Britain's estimated GDP.
The UK will be the only G7 country to suffer economic losses this year
Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) latest upward revision of global economic growth is expected, but at the same time, the United Kingdom has ushered in an unpromising forecast report.
The IMF expects that the UK will experience its first recession this year since the financial crisis in 2009 (excluding the period of the new crown epidemic), and become the only G7 member country that will experience economic losses this year, with an expected annual contraction of 0.6%.
On the 2nd local time, the Bank of England, the Bank of England, announced a 50 basis point interest rate increase, raising the benchmark rate to 4%. This is the Bank of England's 10th consecutive interest rate hike since December 2021.
In its latest statement, the BoE expects UK GDP to grow by 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared with the previous expectation of a 0.3% decline, and UK GDP is expected to contract by 0.1% in the first quarter of 2023. The UK economy is expected to contract by 0.5% in 2023 and 0.25% in 2024.
In addition to the United Kingdom, the same belongs to the European "troika" of Germany and France are also having a hard time.
Germany is the locomotive of the EU economy. The unexpected contraction of GDP data in the fourth quarter of last year has added uncertainty to Germany's economic growth in the first quarter of this year, and also poured a pot of cold water on the EU economy.
On January 30 local time, data released by the German Federal Statistical Office showed that the initial value of Germany's GDP in the fourth quarter of 2022 was lower than market expectations, down 0.2%.
The German Federal Statistical Office said this is the first contraction since the first quarter of 2021. Prior to that, German GDP grew 0.5% and 0.1% in the third and second quarters, respectively.
Germany's Federal Statistical Office said the main reason for Germany's GDP contraction in the fourth quarter of 2022 was a decline in private consumption.
The decline in private consumption in Germany was naturally affected by the inflation rate. According to data released by the German Federal Statistical Office in early January, Germany's consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.6% year-on-year in December. Behind this data is a change in the lifestyle of many ordinary German households.
As the eurozone's largest economy, Germany will be in economic losses this year is highly anticipated. In the latest edition of the IMF's World Economic Outlook report, the IMF believes that Germany will achieve 0.1% economic growth in 2023, compared to the October forecast, when the IMF expects Germany to see a 0.3% economic losses in 2023.
Like Britain, France is also caught in a wave of strikes. On January 31, local time, more than a million people in France demonstrated again against the reform of the retirement system, CNA reported.
The strike caused a serious impact on local transportation, with most French rail passenger services cancelled for the day and most metro lines in Paris offering only limited services during rush hours.
The strike is the second recent cross-industry strike against retirement reform in France, with some 1.12 million people participating in a national strike march on Jan. 19.
On January 10, the French government announced a plan to reform the retirement system, with one of the stronger objections being a proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030.
According to the Bank of France's forecast, France's economic growth will slow down to 0.3% in 2023 from 2.6% in the previous year. At the same time, unemployment among the population may further deteriorate, according to the forecast, the unemployment rate will rise to 7.7% by the end of this year and exceed 8% in 2024.
The French magazine "Atlantic" said that a year ago at this time, the European public hope that the world economy can recover, however, to this day, Europe still failed to get out of the multiple troubles, Britain, France and Germany will once again usher in a difficult spring.