The 12 UK industries that have gone on strike this year

The 12 UK industries that have gone on strike this year
Train strikes: RMT leader Mick Lynch says rail bosses won’t ‘stand in …

2022 will be remembered as the year of three prime ministers, record-breaking temperatures, the war in Ukraine, and strikes.

Over the last 12 months a number of industries, all with employees dealing with inflation eating away at their paychecks, have taken action in a bid to force employers to improve pay and conditions.

Indeed, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 417,000 working days were lost because of labour disputes in October 2022 - the highest since November 2011.

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More are being planned throughout December and negotiations see no signs of working.

From rail workers to nurses, a range of workers downed tools this year.

Here is 2022 in strikes:

1. Rail workers

Perhaps the most high-profile strikes that took place this year were strikes spearheaded by the RMT union on a number of dates from the summer onwards.

RMT boss Mick Lynch became one of 2022's main characters thanks to his blunt communication style and ability to put-down Tory critics with laidback ease.

More RMT strikes are planned over the festive period and a separate strike of workers represented by Aslef is also planned.

2. Royal Mail

Posties working for Royal Mail and represented by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have striked on a number of days since August and have more planned for December. The CEO of Royal Mail even accused posties of trying to ruin Christmas because of the latest round of actions.

3. University staff

The University and College Union (UCU) had strikers from 150 higher education institutions walking out in November.

An estimated 70,000 striking researchers, academics and administrators were joined by caterers, cleaners and other support staff from the Unison and Unite unions over pay issues.

4. Nurses

Nurses represented by the Royal College of Nursing will strike next month. Overall, around a quarter of hospitals and community services in England and nearly all those in Northern Ireland and Wales will see nurses walkout on 15th and 20th December and up to 100,000 nurses could get involved.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: "Ministers have declined my offer of formal pay negotiations and instead chosen strike action.

"It has left us with no choice. Nursing is standing up for the profession and their patients.

"We've had enough of being taken for granted and being unable to provide the care patients deserve."

5. London bus drivers

London bus drivers in the Unite union at two employers, Abellio and Metroline, will strike for three days from Thursday 1 to Saturday 3 December.

Louise Cheeseman, the director of buses at TfL, said: “We apologise for any disruption caused to Londoners, especially for people in west London who may be affected by both sets of strike action. There still will be options for people to travel in the affected areas but other routes may be busier than normal.

“We’re encouraging everyone in these areas to plan ahead, check before they travel and leave more time for their journeys.”

6. Teachers

In Scotland, tens of thousands of teachers striked in November in what was the first nationwide schools strike since the 1980s.

Meanwhile, members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and the NASUWT in Scotland also plan to walk out in early December.

The National Association of Head Teachers and the National Education Union are also balloting teachers and headteachers in England and Wales, while the members of the former in Northern Ireland are also voting.

Meanwhile, school and nursery staff in nine Scottish council areas did strikes over pay in September.

AQA exam board staff also went on strike during the summer.

7. Civil servants

In November, members of the Public and Commercial Services Union union, which represents 150,000 civil servants, voted to take strike action. Staff from the Home Office, Border Force, Department for Transport and Defra are seeking better pay and conditions and they will strike for around a month.

8. Firefighters

The Fire Brigades Union plans to begin balloting members for strike action in December, with a result expected in January. They turned down an offer of a five per cent pay rise that would have represented a real-terms pay cut.

Matt Wrack, the Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said: "This is an historic ballot for firefighters and control staff. We are rarely driven to these lengths.

"Nobody wants to be in this position. After years of derisory pay increases and a pay offer that is well below inflation, firefighters' and control staff's living standards are in peril."

9. Refuse workers

A number of groups of refuse workers have striked this year including Coventry workers in January and Edinburgh workers in August.

Images of overflowing bins from the action went viral on social media.

10. Barristers

Barristers went on strike on various dates in April, September and October. The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) was in a dispute with the government over pay and Legal Aid cuts.

In October, they accepted a deal of a 15 per cent increase in legal aid fees to “the vast majority of cases currently in the crown court”, £3m of funding for case preparation and £4m for prerecorded cross-examinations of vulnerable victims and witnesses.

They had been lobbying for a 25 per cent increase.

11. Journalists

Some 1,000 journalists employed by Reach and represented by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) went on strike for one day on 31 August. They turned down a 3 per cent pay rise offer then accepted a revised offer, ending the strike.

12. Hospital workers

Porters, cleaners and catering staff, members of Unite and who work for outsourcing firm Serco at London hospitals St Barts, Royal London and Whipps Cross, striked for two weeks at the beginning of this year.

The union claimed the mainly black and Asian staff are paid up to 15 per cent less than directly-employed NHS workers.

999 call handlers, ambulance technicians, paramedics and ambulance drivers have also voted to strike in December in separate strikes organised by different unions.

"No one in the NHS takes strike action lightly, today shows just how desperate they are," GMB National Secretary Rachel Harrison said.

"This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay ... Something has to change or the service as we know it will collapse."

Other workers including airline staff and people working at ports also undertook strikes in 2022.

And with the economic crisis showing no sign of abating, we are sure we will see more disruption in 2023 as workers fight for adequate pay.

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