Strikes and other industrial action have been an everpresent occurrence in 2022, and it does not look like they are stopping any time soon.
Thousands of workers are still planning work stoppages, mostly due to unfavourable working conditions and the pressure that the cost of living crisis is putting on their wages.
From teachers to junior doctors, strikes have now spread to virtually every sector, and while some of the most impactful disputes are now suspended for talks, there is no shortage of other walkouts.
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When are the next strikes?
Following action in mid-March, the BMA has announced that junior doctors will strike again from 11 to 15 April, citing a 26.1% real-terms fall in pay since 2008 and an initially proposed pay rise of just 2%.
This announcement comes after junior doctors refused Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s increased pay offer of 5% and a one-off payment of at least £1,655. The BMA is steadfast in its view that a 35% pay rise is necessary to make up for 15 years of below-inflation pay increases.
The BMA has warned that if pay restoration is not achieved after the 96-hour walkout, there will be further action in future.
The RMT and ASLEF rail unions have announced further strike action to take place between May and early June as no progress has been made on agreeing to a deal on pay and conditions.
ASLEF train drivers across 14 rail operating companies will strike on 31 May as well as 3 June, having already walked out on 12 May along with RMT members on13 May.
RMT workers are walking out after the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) “reneged” on its offer by stipulating that it would require the suspension of the strike mandate, effectively barring future action,
[Read more: Will the national rail strike affect London’s Tube and Overground?]
There will be no further bus strikes on Abellio London bus services after the Unite union announced that Members have secured an 18% pay rise.
There are currently no other strikes among bus workers elsewhere in the UK but, so far, only striking TfL Abellio workers have landed a deal, so there may be action in future.
The dispute between nurses and the government has been put aside for the moment with hopes of settling on a pay rise for over one million NHS staff, including nurses, midwives, security guards and cleaners.
If the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) accepts the proposal, Agenda for Change members will receive a non-consolidated 2% pay rise for 2022 and 2023, and a permanent 5% rise for the financial year of 2023/24.
Even if the strikes are suspended for now, not everyone is happy with this deal. Harry Eccles, a clinical nurse specialist, told the Guardian: “It’s an insulting offer. It goes nowhere near what we set out to achieve. The job of nurses like me is to speak to our colleagues across the United Kingdom, across different unions to say we need to reject this.”
Wales has already rejected an offered financial settlement and, even though Scotland has accepted the Scottish Government’s pay offer, England is still on the fence.
Teachers in England have voted overwhelmingly for further strike action after rejecting the government’s pay offer.
98% of respondents to the 66% turnout ballot voted no to the latest offer of a 4.5% increase this year on top of a 5.4% increase last september, as well as a £1,000 one-off payment.
Teachers in England are walking out on 27 April and 2 May.
NEU joint General Secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney said in a statement: “No teacher wants to be on strike. Nor can they accept this offer that does nothing to address the decades of below-inflation pay increases making them the worst paid teachers in the UK.
“The offer will do nothing to stem the teacher recruitment and retention crisis which is so damaging to our children and young people’s education.”
Unions have warned that strikes could return “with a vengeance” if talks with the government fall through.
Though GMB and Union ambulance worker strikes had previously been called off, some are set to resume industrial action as the government’s offer is rejected.
Unite members working for the ambulance service at South London’s Guys and St Thomas’ Trust and the Yorkshire Ambulance Trust will be the first to strike on 1 May.
No further strikes have been announced but they will likely be coming in future.
BBC local radio staff are set to walk out again in opposition to planned cuts to regional services and resulting job cuts.
The disputed plans will see radio broadcasts shared across local stations, meaning reductions in original content produced in each area.
The strike will take place on 5 May to coincide with local election results.
NUJ National Broadcasting Organiser Paul Siegert said of the strike: “Video didn’t kill off radio and nor will digital. We understand that digital services need to be improved but it shouldn’t come at the expense of local radio which is at the heart of the BBC’s public service remit.
“Once local radio stops being local then it is the beginning of the end and BBC bosses don’t have the right to destroy an institution that has existed for over 50 years.”
The University and College Union (UCU) is currently undertaking a marking and assessment boycott which, according to the union, will “continue until employers make an improved offer, at which point UCU will decide whether to continue the action or call it off.”
While no specific strike dates are currently planned, the UCU has renewed its strike madate with yes votes on ballots for both working conditions and pensions strikes.
The votes mean that staff across more than 150 universities in the UK will be able to go on strike again as and when dates are decided.
UCU General Secretary Jo Grady said of the result: “Employers thought we could not win a national ballot. They were wrong. Employers thought we could not repeat it. They were wrong again. Every vice chancellor in the UK today now knows we will win any strike action ballot we call.”
Civil Service and public bodies
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is in the midst of a wave of strikes that started in December and are set to last “well into 2023”.
Some 124 government departments have voted to strike in total, citing “a 10% pay rise, pensions justice, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms” as demands.
Upcoming strikes include:
- Passport offices: 3 April to 5 May
- DVSA: Dates between 5 and 28 April
- DWP: 2-6 May (regional)
- Civil service: 28 April
Some of these strikes only affect isolated locations. For exact strike dates and areas, visit the PCS website.
More than 3,100 National Express bus drivers in the West Midlands are undertaking indefinite strike action as of 20 March until an acceptable pay deal is reached.
The Unite union, which is representing the strikers, highlighted that NX bus drivers earn £14 after three years, compared to £18 after two for Abellio bus drivers under the new London deal.
Only a few routes on the National Express West Midlands network will be running, mainly those servicing hospitals. Bus users are advised to seek alternative routes.
What is causing the strikes?
The strike action over 2022 and the upcoming planned walkouts have largely been in response to real-term pay cuts in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, and, in some cases, redundancies, pensions and working conditions.
This has been strongly exacerbated by inflation, which is at highs not seen in decades – 9.2% as of December according to the Office for National Statistics.
[Read more: How will train strikes affect London’s tube and overground?]