Britain faces fresh wave of strikes amid cost-of-living crisis
Britain is facing a fresh wave of industrial action, including by nurses, postal workers and university lecturers, sparked by a bitter cost-of-living crisis.
The annual inflation rate in the UK jumped to 11.1% in October from 10.1% in September, its highest since October 1981, leading to a fall in real wages.
Both unionized and non-unionized workers across the UK went on strike over the summer, and with the negative impact of Brexit, COVID-19 and lately the Russia-Ukraine war, the cost-of-living crisis just got worse, causing more strikes during this winter.
Leaving the EU added nearly £6 billion ($7.3 billion) to household food bills in the UK, with the poorest bearing the brunt of the higher costs, according to a new research by the London School of Economics.
Food prices have increased by 3% a year since Brexit, leading to a 6% jump over two years.
With all of this, the country has been facing a huge wave of strikes – from the workers in health, transport, education and postal sectors.
The walkout by railway workers that started in the summer still continues, with about 40,000 staff members across Network Rail and 14 other rail firms likely to go ahead with the industrial action on Dec. 13, 14, 16 and 17.
With the new announcement, rail workers will also go on strike from 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve until 5.59 a.m. local time on Dec. 27.
About 50% of train services nationwide are expected to be affected.
London bus drivers also announced industrial action in the run-up to Christmas, with strikes starting on Dec. 10, 15 and 17.
Nurses in the UK are preparing to go on strike on Dec. 15 and Dec. 20 over a pay dispute with the government.
The strike will take place across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Around 100,000 nurses are expected to participate in the strike, but emergency care services will continue.
Also, more than 10,000 ambulance workers in England and Wales will strike on Dec. 21 and Dec. 28 because of pay issues, the GMB union confirmed on Tuesday.
The walkouts will also involve paramedics, control room staff and support workers.
Workers in ambulance services and some NHS trusts voted to strike because of the government-imposed 4% pay rise. Employees asked for above-inflation pay rises.