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Factbox – Energy crisis and inflation drives UK workers to industrial action

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of trains on the platform at Waterloo Station as a station worker stands nearby, on the first day of national rail strike in London, Britain, June 21, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

(Reuters) – Britain is in the midst of widespread industrial unrest as workers across the economy struggling with the rising cost of living resort to strike action in disputes over pay and conditions.

Below are some of the industries in which trade unions have undertaken or threatened strike action:

RAILWAYS

Large sections of Britain’s rail network have been repeatedly brought to a standstill over recent weeks.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said that British rail workers will stage a new round of strikes on Sept. 15 and 17.

The RMT said over 40,000 of its members from Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will walk out across the country “effectively shutting down” the railway network.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has announced a 24-hour strike from midday on Sept 26 until midday on Sept 27. TSSA said it was pushing for a revised pay deal for staff at train operating companies after rejecting a 2% offer.

The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers (ASLEF) also announced train drivers at 12 operating companies will walk out on Sept. 15th in a dispute over pay.

Members at Unite union, ASLEF, RMT and TSSA previously walked out in July and August after failing to resolve disagreements over pay and conditions.

COURTS

Lawyers in England and Wales involved in criminal trials have voted to begin striking indefinitely on Sept. 5, the day Boris Johnson’s successor as prime minister is due to be announced, the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) said.

The CBA wants a 25% rise in fees for legal aid work, where government funding helps meet the costs of representation for those who cannot afford it.

The government has offered barristers a 15% pay rise, but the CBA has said the proposal would not come in until the end of 2023 at the earliest.

British lawyers have been taking intermittent action for weeks in a dispute over government funding, refusing to take on new cases or cover cases for colleagues that have overrun.

SCHOOLS

The NASUWT Teachers’ Union had previously said it would ballot members for industrial action in November if their pay award falls short of their 12% increase demand.

After the government announced pay rises of between 5% and 8.9% for teachers, the union called on ministers to commit to negotiations.

HOSPITALS

The Royal College of Nursing has said hundreds of thousands of nurses in England and Wales will vote in September on whether to strike after the government announced below-inflation pay rises.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents doctors, has said it will ballot junior doctors for possible industrial action because those in England are ineligible for a 4.5% pay increase for some doctors announced by the government.

It has also said other groups of doctors it represents will consider their next steps, warning it is “on a collision course with the government”.

AIRPORTS

British Airways (LON:ICAG)’ check-in and ground staff at London’s Heathrow airport suspended a planned strike that had threatened disruption at one of Europe’s busiest aviation hubs after the airline agreed to improve pay.

TELECOMS

More than 40,000 workers for telecoms company BT Group (LON:BT) held a national strike over pay on July 29 and Aug. 1, their first such action in 35 years.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) members at BT and Openreach also held two-day strike on Aug. 30 and 31.

POSTAL SERVICES

Workers at the Post Office carried out a fourth round of industrial action on Aug. 26, which coincided with a walkout by some staff at Royal Mail (LON:RMG).

More than 115,000 postal workers at Royal Mail voted to strike on the additional dates of Sept. 8 and 9 over pay.

PORTS

More than 1,900 workers at Britain’s biggest container port, Felixstowe, carried out eight days of strikes on Aug 21-29 in a dispute over pay.

Hundreds of dockworkers at the Port of Liverpool, one of the largest container ports in the country, have also voted in favour of strike action over pay and conditions.

PUBLISHING

Journalists at British newspaper, magazine and digital publisher Reach, whose titles include the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, took part in walkouts on Aug. 31 after talks to resolve an ongoing dispute over pay broke down.

The National Union of Journalists said Reach members also agreed on a three-day strike from Sept 14 to Sept 16.

PUBLIC SECTOR

Cleaners, security guards, reception workers, mail room staff and others at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy plan strike action on Sept. 13 and 14 over health and safety protocols.

BUSES

Around 900 staff at bus company Arriva plan to strike Sept. 5-7 over a pay dispute, Unite the Union said.

Arriva bus workers in various cities around the country have been taking part in industrial action over pay, including more than 600 bus workers based in Kent planning to take four days of strike action on Sept. 5, 16, 20 and 30.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

The Fire Brigades Union has rejected a proposed 2% pay increase and said it is preparing for strike action.

BINS

Unite the Union and GMB Scotland said members employed by the City of Edinburgh Council and 16 other Scottish councils are due to strike over pay.

Waste workers in Edinburgh took part in an 11-day walkout during the busy festival season, with further strikes around the country planned or threatened.

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