Trade unions threaten the departure of teachers, NHS staff, lawyers and postmen this summer.
They are voting up to 1.5 million workers as a result of a strike at an unprecedented rate since the Winter of Dissatisfaction in the late 1970s. .
“The unions’ plan to bring the UK to a standstill by striking in all aspects of our economy and public services is selfish,” said Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden.
‘Distressed families and businesses will incur additional costs and inconvenience caused by these unnecessary strikes.’
Lord Blunkett, a former Labor interior secretary, urged union leaders to ‘stop pretending in the 1970s or 1980s’.
Two teachers’ unions with a total of 750,000 members yesterday have been the latest to warn about leaving unless salaries rise.
And half a million Health Care workers could go on strike over their paycheck.
RMT party leader Mick Lynch yesterday suggested a railway strike could extend until the autumn season, warning: ‘There will be more voting parties across the country, because people can no longer tolerate it.’
Mick Lynch, Secretary-General of the National Union of Railway, Maritime and Transport Workers speaking at a trade union protest organized against the British government’s policies at the Parliamentary grounds in London, UK, June 18, 2022.
Unison members and the public are taking part in a national TUC protest in central London demanding action on the cost of living, a new plan for working people and a pay rise for all workers. Photo date: Saturday June 18, 2022
Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith said the Labor Party’s failure to condemn the strike showed it was anti-union.
He added: ‘Now they want to bring us back in the 1970s and bring this country to a standstill. Many people still remember Winter Dissatisfaction, 25 percent inflation, high interest rates, IMF securities, three-day weeks and street trash.
“We must deal with this and show that the British people will not be compensated.”
The NASUWT teachers’ union said yesterday that its 300,000 members would be elected unless the government supported the demand for a 12 percent salary increase.
Secretary-General Patrick Roach said the UK was facing an ’emerging emergency for the future of the teaching profession’ because of the cost of living dispute as well as ‘reduction of real conditional payments’.
He added: ‘The government mistakenly thought that teachers would only stop working when they lost their salaries and undermined our education system. If the wage increase is not paid, it will win to our members in the workplace through industrial action. ‘
The National Union of Education will also be preparing to vote for its 460,000 members – from teachers and lecturers to staff members – unless acceptable salary increases are provided based on inflation.
Co-Secretary-General Kevin Courtney said: ‘If there is no significant improvement in the 3 per cent – which will leave the 8 per cent gap and inflation this year alone – we cannot avoid a vote. The climate among teachers has changed.
‘Last year the issue was a huge workload. This year is a workload and pay. ‘
Unison, the country’s largest trade union, has indicated half a million members could go on strike over the next NHS payment offer, which is expected in June, if it falls by 9.2 percent in inflation.
Secretary-General Christina McAnea said: ‘The government has an easy choice. Either it will provide a prudent reward for pay, investing in staff and services and reducing patient delays or risking possible conflict, staff shortages and increased patient suffering. ‘
The British Drug Association has also said it will vote for members on the payment of junior doctors. And the railways are likely to go on strike over the summer holidays after the Transport Workers’ Union issued a voting notice to hundreds of workers at the South-East Railway and the Western Cape on allegations of unnecessary layoffs and pay rises.
Gen sec. of Unison – the largest union representing NHS workers – Christina McAnea said: ‘The government has an easy choice. Either it will provide a reasonable reward for pay, investing in staff and services and reducing patient delays or it could jeopardize possible conflict, increased staff shortages and increased patient suffering ‘
Co-Secretary-General of the National Education Union Kevin Courtney said: ‘If there is no significant improvement in the 3 per cent – which will leave the 8 per cent gap and inflation this year alone – we will not be able to avoid voting. The climate among teachers has changed ‘
Some 115,000 Royal Mail employees are expected to be voted on by the Communications Workers’ Union in another pay dispute.
The Royal Mail announced last week that workers would receive a 2% pay rise but CWU deputy secretary general Terry Pullinger said it was “unacceptable anywhere”.
The Coalition for Public Service and Commerce, which has about 180,000 members in the Public Service, will also vote in September on a 10 per cent possibility of further action for its additional salary requirements. Lawyers vote if they strike over legal aid rates , the decision being made today.
Mr Blunkett last night warned unions that mass walks would be counterproductive. “One way to lose all support and ensure the re-election of Boris Johnson is to get into an elephant trap,” he said.
Trade Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will introduce legislation earlier this week to allow traders to hire temporary workers during travel, a practice that is currently banned.
Who else is expected to join the summer strike infection?
Strikes could spread across the economy in the coming months. These are the areas that have been affected – and those that can be hit – by the unions behind the ballot.
The three-day RMT strike this week will shut down half of the country’s rail network and reduce services to one-fifth of normal rates.
The Salary Workers Union (TSSA) is also voting for thousands of workers in Network Rail and several railway companies, with possible strikes in July.
Aslef train drivers’ union is expected to strike in Greater Anglia and Croydon Tramlink in the coming weeks.
Unite is also voting for 500 employees to enter the British Airways airline in Heathrow for refusing to reverse the 10 per cent cut-off payment for the tragedy. If workers vote in support of the strike, a strike is likely to break out in July – and it could ruin some of the summer holidays.
The NAS / UWT teachers’ union will vote for members on the move unless the Government supports the demand for a 12 per cent salary increase. The remuneration award for 2022/23 is due in November.
The National Union of Education has said it will vote for 460,000 of its members if inflation-related salary increases are not provided by the Government.
Unison, which represents NHS staff, said strikes were possible unless their annual payroll was close to inflation. The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, has also said it will prepare for the vote unless junior doctors are given a 22 percent increase in ‘adjusting’ salaries.
The Royal College of Nursing has also demanded a 5 percent salary increase over inflation.
The Public Service and Trade Union, which represents public service workers, will vote in September on pay, pensions and layoffs.
Unison, GMB and Unite have said local government workers in the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland should receive a salary increase of at least £ 2,000 each. Staff include garbage collectors, library staff, teaching assistants and caregivers.
Unite said it would support ‘any action’ by workers to achieve wage increases.
The Criminal Law Association, which represents attorneys, is voting for members on the levels of legal aid that could lead to their departure.
The Telecommunications Workers Union will vote for Royal Mail employees in a dispute over a 2% pay rise.
The union has also sent ballot papers to BT employees including engineers, telecommunications station staff and retail staff on payment. It could be the first strike in the company since it was privatized in the mid-1980s.
But not all bad news… parking guards will come out, too!
For some travelers experiencing rising fuel costs and rail strikes, it is a soft silver light.
This month traffic officials will go on a seven-day strike in protest of wage cuts and ‘firefighting and re-employment’ tactics.
The Wiltshire walk means that punitive payment notices will not be issued and payments at council car parks will not be enforced, costing £ 30,000 in revenue.
The GMB action from June 30 to July 6 follows two days of strikes in the county in May.
The coalition opposes a 10 percent pay cut, or £ 2,000 a year, for traffic guards, saying members were ‘the end of their pay.’
Wiltshire Council seeks to save £ 800,000 annually by ending the contractual payment of non-social hours to nearly 350 employees, including social workers and care workers.