UK strikes 2023: Which services and sectors are striking or threatening to strike?

UK strikes 2023: Which services and sectors are striking or threatening to strike?

Hundreds of thousands of workers across multiple sectors such as rail, ambulance, Royal Mail, and civil servants have voted to go on strike in recent months.

Industrial action disrupted public transport and postal services around Christmas.

Some disputes between unions, employers, and the Government have not been resolved, meaning industrial action has continued into the new year.

The Government has introduced an “anti-strikes” bill, which will restrict workers’ rights to withdraw their labour.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill was considered in the House of Commons on Monday (January 16), where MPs voted to give it a second reading.

Find out below which sectors will be striking in January and the coming months.

Teachers

Teachers’ unions have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay.

More than 120,000 National Education Union (NEU) members have voted to strike for seven days in February and March, but schools will be affected by only four days of industrial action.

The Department for Education has offered most teachers a five per cent pay rise but the National Education Union (NEU) is demanding a fully funded rise above inflation.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the NEU, said: “This is not about a pay rise but correcting historic, real-terms pay cuts.

“We regret having to take strike action, and are willing to enter into negotiations at any time, any place, but this situation cannot go on.”

Rail workers

Train drivers will strike on February 1 and 3 after Aslef members rejected a pay rise offer of around four per cent a year for two years.

The companies affected include commuter routes like Thameslink, Southeastern and Southern.

Meanwhile, members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union said they will also strike on February 1 and 3, despite previously being optimistic that it could have reached a deal with Network Rail and the Rail Delivery Group without taking further action.

Nurses

Nurses will go on strike on January 18 and 19 following a two-day strike before Christmas. Nurses at more hospital trusts than before will be involved, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union said.

The RCN also said that two new strikes will take place on February 6 and 7, unless a deal can be brokered with the Government on pay.

Emergency care will be covered but some pre-booked treatments will be disrupted.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “It is with a heavy heart that nursing staff are striking this week and again in three weeks. Rather than negotiate, Rishi Sunak has chosen strike action again.

“We’re doing this in a desperate bid to get him and ministers to rescue the NHS. The only credible solution is to address the tens of thousands of unfilled jobs — patient care is suffering like never before.”

Junior doctors

The British Medical Association (BMA) opened a ballot for junior doctors on January 9. Junior doctors have until February 20 to vote on whether to take industrial action.

Should union members vote to strike, they will walk out for 72 hours in March.

The BMS is calling for “pay restoration after 26.1 per cent real-term pay cuts”.

Royal Mail workers

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are negotiating with Royal Mail and are not planning any further strike action.

However, the CWU will ballot its members until February 16 if their negotiations are unsuccessful.

The CWU will meet Royal Mail shareholders on January 23 to explain the union’s concerns.

Firefighters

Firefighters, who refused a five per cent pay rise, are running a ballot on strike action from now until January 30.

More than 33,000 firefighters and control-room staff will vote on whether to take industrial action.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Strike action will always be a last resort but we are running out of options.

“Many firefighters and control staff are desperate. Some are struggling to afford to live. It is a dreadful and very serious state of affairs.

“We are doing everything we can to secure a decent offer. We have held talks with and written letters to many different parties, but no such pay offer has been forthcoming.”

Ambulance workers

Ambulance workers will walk out on January 23, following their strike on January 11. Paramedics, drivers, technicians, and call handlers walked out in shifts over a 24-hour period.

Unite also said workers from five ambulance trusts in England and Wales would also join the strike on February 6. It is the first time both ambulance staff and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will be striking on the same day.

The walkouts by staff including paramedics, call handlers, and support workers in seven of the 10 English ambulance services along with the national Welsh service, and will take place on February 6 and 20 and March 6 and 20.

Under new trade union laws, unions will have to provide emergency cover.