UK Strikes: What You & Your Children Need to Know

By arayerevanian 22nd December 2022

We are here to explain all you and your children need to know about strike action in the UK.

A view from South Western Railway during a general strike of road and railway workers in London, United Kingdom on December 21, 2022. The general strike started by road and railway workers due to the disagreement in wage increase and working conditions in the country caused serious disruptions in transportation.

Rail workers, nurses, ambulance drivers, postal workers and Border Force staff have been on strike (refusing to work) in protest at low pay and poor working conditions.

In the new year, there’s likely to be even more strike action, including by teachers and firefighters and junior. Some 1,200 troops from the Army, Navy and RAF have been called in to cover striking workers’ jobs over the festive period, along with 1,000 civil servants.

What is a strike?

A worker going on strike implies their refusal to work, with the strike generally being organized by a body of employees such as a union as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to settle a disagreement with their employer.

Workers who go on a strike for a set period of time do so as an official form of protest. However, not every type of worker can go on strike. For example, strikes are prohibited for prison guards and police officers, under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Why do people strike?

Workers in many industries are trade union members. These organisations look after the well-being of workers and communicate with employers about pay, hours, and conditions. Unions may ask their members to vote on going on strike if no agreement is reached.

Workers At Felixstowe Port Go Ahead With An Eight-Day Strike

Who is going on strike?

Here are just some of the workers who happen to be striking this year:

In December of this year, thousands of nurses went out on strike in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The current strike is the largest in NHS history. According to the trade union for the Royal College of Nursing, emergency care will be given. However, numerous medical procedures and appointments will be postponed as a result of the strikes.

Since June 2022, rail workers have gone on one-day strikes to protest pay, job cuts, and working conditions. Before Christmas and into the following 2023 new year, more rail strikes are anticipated.

Due to disagreements regarding pay and job cuts, Royal Mail workers have been striking and more are planned for December, which unfortunately could affect First News in print being delivered on time! Don’t forget, there’s always First News digital access that could be available within seconds of launching the app!

Due to a teachers’ strike, almost every school in Scotland was closed on November 24 of this year. In the coming year, more strikes are anticipated.

The end of November saw a three-day strike by university employees across the UK, including lecturers and cleaners. Their strikes were regarding pay, workloads, and pensions.

Why are there an increasing amount of strikes in recent times?

Most of the recent strikes occurring are related to pay and wages. This is due to the fact that prices are currently rising quickly and that workers are suffering greatly as a result of the lack of pay increases. This aligns with the cost of living crisis occurring in most UK households which ultimately affects the economy. These strikes will cause significant disruption in a variety of settings, including hospitals and train travel, but they are frequently viewed as a last resort by workers seeking to have their concerns heard.

How are workers who strike being impacted?

Although workers cannot be dismissed for participating in a strike called by their union during the first 12 weeks of the strike, they are however not compensated by their employers for the days they are on strike.

First News Polls for "Should key workers such as nurses and teachers be able to strike?"

Here’s what all of you have to say:

As numerous employees have gone striking this year, we asked you whether key workers such as nurses and teachers should be able to strike. A total of 62% of you said YES they should. Let’s take a look at some of your comments!

We would love for your voice to be heard, so join in the conversation and cast your vote & comments at first.news/polls and your say could be featured in the upcoming First News issues!

If you wish to read more insightful pieces that could be discussed with your children, visit the Talking Points section of our website.

Find out all the ways you can access First News at home and at school!

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