With news of strike action or ballots seemingly emerging daily, Personnel Today reveals the latest developments concerning industrial action in different sectors, and outlines who is on strike and when.
Nurses and health workers
The Royal College of Nursing confirmed on 25 November that strikes would go ahead on 15 and 20 December. Emergency care will still be provided but routine services will be impacted in the biggest industrial action in NHS history.
Junior doctors could be due to go on strike in the new year, after the British Medical Association agreed in October that it would go to a ballot for industrial action in January.
Industrial action began on 24 November for around 70,000 academic staff across 150 universities. Non-academic staff who are members of Unison are also taking action over pay at 19 universities.
UCU members are striking over pay and changes to pension arrangements that it claims will see some members losing up to 35% of their future retirement income.
Almost all primary and secondary schools, as well as many council nurseries, were closed in Scotland on 24 November in the first nationwide schools strike since the 1980s.
Elsewhere in the UK, the National Association of Headteachers and the National Education Union are balloting members over taking strike action.
There are currently three unions in dispute with the railway companies: the RMT, Aslef and the TSSA.
The RMT recently announced four 48-hour strikes over key weeks in the Christmas and New Year Period. These strikes will take place on 13-14 December; 16-17 December; 3-4 January and 6-7 January. The union has also announced an overtime covering the period between 18 December and 2 January.
Aslef, which represents train drivers from 11 train operators, will go ahead with a strike on 26 November, meaning there will be no service or heavily reduced services on that day.
The TSSA union, or Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, recently suspended action with members working for Network Rail while negotiations take place.
Thousands of postal workers began a further two-day strike on 24 November after talks between the Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union ended without agreement.
There are further stoppages planned for 30 November and 1 December, as well as more days in December, including Christmas Eve. The CWU represents 115,000 workers at Royal Mail.
Unite members working for Abellio in south and west London began strikes on 22 November that are set to continue for more than a week across November and December.
Thousands of civil servants voted in favour of strikes in early November. The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) is seeking a 10% pay rise for civil servants, with around 100,000 members voting for the action.
Dates are yet to be announced, but PCS industrial officer Jim Knotts said: “If there are not meaningful negotiations on the PCS claim offered by the Cabinet Office then the national executive committee will agree a programme of industrial action.”
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has rejected a pay offer of 5% for firefighters and control room staff and will open a ballot on strike action on 5 December. The ballot will close on 30 January.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said its members had spoken. “This result of the consultative ballot, on a two week turnaround, shows that there is remarkable strength of feeling amongst firefighters and control staff on this derisory pay offer.
“We have firefighters using food banks. Our members worked through the pandemic to help protect their communities, taking on extra duties to do so. A further real-terms pay cut is an absolutely disgusting way to thank them. Whilst strike action is always a last resort, our members simply can’t go on like this.”
Workers at Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood and Abingdon have agreed to a five-day walkout from 5 December. Reports suggest 188 staff are due to strike in a dispute over the offer of a 3% pay rise plus a one-off payment of £650.
Solicitors could go on strike over levels of pay for legal aid work, after the Law Society of England and Wales described the government’s failure to implement a 15% rise in fees for criminal defence work as “baffling”.
Hundreds of workers at security firm G4S have voted in favour of a 48-hour strike over pay, which will take place from 3am on 5 December 2022. The union has warned there could be a cash shortage ahead of the Christmas period as a result, as its members carry out deliveries to cash machines.