UK strike dates: When are nurses, ambulance crews and teachers walking out?

Rishi Sunak signals compromise attempt under threat of industrial unrest in weeks ahead

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Hospitals in the UK are bracing for strikes by nurses and ambulance workers in the coming weeks as Britain's “winter of discontent” drags into the new year.

Teachers have also decided to take industrial action over pay and working conditions and union bosses representing junior doctors say they could be next.

Britain has been hit by a series of strikes, including by rail workers, who have demanded significant pay increases during a cost-of-living crisis and a tax-raising budget.

With inflation above 10 per cent, managers are seldom offering increases to match that and workers say they have not had a real-terms pay increase for years. So far, government talk about compromise has not found an answer.

Here is a look at who is striking and when.

Nurses

Nurses in England held two 12-hour strike days in December and have four more planned after deciding the UK government has not begun “detailed negotiations”.

Nurses will still provide emergency care, but routine services will be, at least, reduced.

The Royal College of Nursing wants a pay offer of 5 per cent above inflation. It points to London School of Economics research that found the salaries of experienced nurses have declined by 20 per cent in real terms over 10 years.

Strikes are planned for:

  • January 18
  • January 19
  • February 6
  • February 7

Patricia Marquis, director for England at the RCN, said it feels unlikely the nurses’ strikes planned for Wednesday and Thursday will be called off.

In Scotland, an RCN strike is back on the cards after nurses overwhelmingly rejected a pay offer from the Scottish government.

The RCN paused planned industrial action when the Scottish government reopened pay negotiations, but the most recent offer was rejected.

The Royal College of Midwives also rejected the Scottish government proposals. Strike dates are not yet scheduled.

Ambulance

Three unions — GMB, Unison and Unite — representing tens of thousands of ambulance workers are in pay disputes across the country. Not all unions have been on strike on the same days. The GMB called off a December 28 strike and Unison has already had one strike day in January.

Strike dates

  • January 23: Unison and Unite
  • February 6: GMB
  • February 20: GMB
  • March 6: GMB
  • March 20: GMB

Action by GMB ambulance staff affects nine trusts in England and Wales.

  • South Western Ambulance Service
  • South East Coast Ambulance Service
  • North West Ambulance Service
  • South Central Ambulance Service
  • North East Ambulance Service
  • East Midlands Ambulance Service
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service
  • Welsh Ambulance Service
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Unison ambulance crews for five trusts are striking.

  • London Ambulance Service
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service
  • North West Ambulance Service
  • North East Ambulance Service
  • South West Ambulance Service

The Unison strike involves paramedics and emergency care assistants.

Unite, meanwhile, represents workers at three services.

  • North West Ambulance Service
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service
  • North East Ambulance Service

Junior doctors

More than 45,000 members of the British Medical Association are being balloted on whether to strike over pay. The result of the ballot is due in February.

A full 72-hour walkout could take place in March if more than 50 per cent of junior doctors vote yes to the industrial action. Junior doctors working for the NHS last walked out in 2016.

Other health jobs

Hundreds of staff working for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are taking strike action on January 17 over pay and staffing. The walkout by members of Unison will be followed by four days of working to rule.

Physiotherapists will strike in a dispute over pay and staffing on January 26 and February 9.

Teachers

The National Education Union (NEU), Britain's biggest teachers' union, is holding the first of its planned seven strike dates in February.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said she was disappointed that teachers had voted to go on strike. Nine out of 10 teachers are members of the NEU. Not all areas will be affected by strike action on every date.

School managers say schools have been hit by a major shortfall of teachers, with many opting to leave the profession in recent years.

  • February 1
  • February 14
  • February 28
  • March 1
  • March 2
  • March 15
  • March 16

Universities

More than 70,000 staff at 150 universities across the UK will strike for 18 days between February and March in disputes over pay, conditions and pensions. Only one date has so far been announced.

  • Wednesday, February 1

Rail

There are two disputes taking place — one involving train drivers in the Aslef union and the other involving rail staff members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union

The RMT has staged a series of strikes already in January as part of a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions. Both unions have now scheduled strike days for February.

  • February 1
  • February 3

Companies involved in action include:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • Greater Anglia
  • GTR Great Northern Thameslink
  • London North Eastern Railway
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • Southern/Gatwick Express
  • South Western Railway (depot drivers only)
  • SWR Island Line
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

London Underground

There are no further strike dates but there will be some fallout from rail strikes where the track is owned by Network Rail. As such, disruption will affect parts of the District and Bakerloo lines, the London Overground and Elizabeth line.

Elizabeth Line

There are no plans for more action on the new rail line after a one-day strike on January 12.

London bus drivers

Dozens of bus services in the capital will be severely curtailed because of a strike by drivers working for Abellio. There have been three strike days already and more are planned.

  • January 19
  • January 25
  • January 26

Civil servants

About 100,000 civil servants are joining a widening strike after the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) called negotiations with government a "total farce". The government has offered civil servants a 2-3 per cent pay rise.

Staff at government departments going on strike include the Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health and Social Care, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Home Office, Ofsted and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

  • February 1

Legal advisers

In a separate dispute, PCS members working as legal advisers and court associates in more than 82 courts across England and Wales will next strike on January 28.

Updated: January 19, 2023, 12:43 PM
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