Home World Britain hit by biggest day of strikes in a decade as pay disputes escalate

Britain hit by biggest day of strikes in a decade as pay disputes escalate

by News Desk
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500,000 workers impressive Across UK On Wednesday, it closed schools, canceled university lectures and shut down most of the rail network. strike Over 10 years.

Teachers, university staff, train drivers and civil servants (including staff checking passports at airports) have gone on numerous strikes over wages and working conditions. standard of living After years of sub-inflationary rises, it continues to plummet.

At the same time, Trade Union Congress, representing 48 unions, held more than 75 rallies across the UK, government bill What it claims is an “attack” on the right to strike. The bill would require fire, ambulance, and rail departments to maintain basic service levels in the event of a strike.

The escalating strike action comes just weeks after the government tried to settle wage disputes to end the worst wave of industrial unrest seen in decades. , has been proposed for a 4% or 5% salary increase in the current fiscal year, with an annual inflation rate of 10.5%.

up to 300,000 Teachers are scheduled to go on strike Wednesday, the first phase of a seven-day strike action from February to March by the National Education Union, the largest union in the field. The strike will affect around 23,400 schools in England and Wales, about 85%, with many closed completely or partially.

Wednesday also marks the beginning of a strike by 70,000 members of the Union of Universities and Universities (UCU), which will attack 150 UK universities over 18 days in February and March, affecting 2.5 million students.

Meanwhile, more than 100,000 members of the Public and Commercial Service Union, which represents civil servants, will go on strike over salaries, pensions and job security in 123 government ministries.

And British rail company Rail Delivery Group expects only about 30% of train services to run on Wednesday, saying in a statement posted on its website that many trains will not run. So it warns that the disruption could continue into the rest of the week. Be at the appropriate depot.

A train stops at the platform of London's Waterloo station on February 1, 2023, the day of the UK's biggest strike in more than a decade.

The strike would hit already slowing economic growth. The United Kingdom is likely to become the only major economy to slip into recession this year after posting the strongest growth rate among advanced economies last year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF slightly upgrade This is on the back of China’s resumption of economic activity and improving financial conditions as inflation eases.

But in the UK, funds are more pessimistic.

Research director Pierre-Olivier Grinchat said this was due to higher energy prices, lower productivity as employment has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, and higher interest rates and mortgage costs due to rising inflation. said something.

The IMF expects UK inflation to exceed 8% this year, compared to 4.6% in advanced economies and 6.6% globally. The UK economy he sees shrinking by 0.6% in 2023, down 0.9 percentage points from the October forecast.

Union members and supporters march towards Westminster, London, 1 February 2023.

A slowing economy and sustained inflation will exacerbate the cost of living crisis plaguing thousands of workers as wages cannot keep up with rising prices.

The NEU’s deputy general secretary, Niamh Sweeny, told CNN that the average 5% salary increase for teachers this year is not enough, especially after a decade of “low wages” leading to a “recruitment and retention crisis.” Told.

Taking inflation into account, wages for experienced teachers have fallen by 23% since 2010, according to the union. Sweeny said his staff, including teaching her assistants, saw his salary drop by 27% in real terms during that time, with some earning more from working at the local supermarket than from teaching. .

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said: “The strike action is taking a huge toll on children’s education, especially following the turmoil they have experienced over the past two years.”

Sian Elliott, senior policy officer at the Trade Union Congress, told CNN that the solution to the wave of strikes is simple.

But instead of resolving wage disputes, the government “hastily” submitted an anti-strike bill to parliament without proper scrutiny or impact assessment, she added.

In a sign that industrial unrest could escalate further, British firefighters voted to strike for the first time since 2003.

Nurses and ambulance drivers will start a new wave of strikes next week.

— Olesya Dmitracova contributed to the report.

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