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
# 01 February 2023 16:46 (UTC +04:00)

As many as half a million workers are striking across Britain on Wednesday, closing schools, canceling university lectures and bringing most of the rail network to a standstill in what unions say will be the biggest single day of walkouts in more than a decade, APA reports citing CNN.

Teachers, university staff, train drivers and civil servants — including staff checking passports at airports — are striking in large numbers over pay and working conditions as living standards continue to plunge after years of below-inflation raises.

At the same time, the Trades Union Congress, which represents 48 unions, is holding over 75 rallies across the United Kingdom to protest a government bill that it argues is an “attack” on the right to strike. The bill would require basic service levels to be maintained in the fire, ambulance and rail sectors in the event of walkouts.

Escalating strike action comes just weeks after the government tried to resolve pay disputes to bring an end to the worst wave of industrial unrest the country has seen in decades. Many public sector workers have been offered raises of 4% or 5% for the current financial year, with the annual rate of inflation running at 10.5%

Up to 300,000 teachers are expected to strike on Wednesday, marking the first of seven days of strike action through February and March by the National Education Union, the largest union in the sector. Strikes will affect around 23,400 schools, about 85%, in England and Wales, with many closed fully or partially.

Wednesday also marks the beginning of strikes by 70,000 members of the University and College Union (UCU), which will hit 150 UK universities on 18 days in February and March, affecting 2.5 million students.

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