This is a reversal of the trend in recent years. It was a sign — no more than that — of blue-collar workers asserting themselves. And a hope that after a 17-year low, the benefits of rising labour demand were making their way into workers’ pockets. An economy that seems rigged against workers helped fuel unrest everywhere. In Britain, the average house now costs eight times average earnings. Much of the rise was due to cronyism, the emergence of cartels, unjustified share buybacks, dividend payments from borrowed money and, above all, QE and absurdly low interest rates.