Labour MPs to join rail strike picket lines: The UK starts grinding to a halt as unions plunge Britain into a £1bn ‘lockdown’ and the RMT is accused ‘punishing millions of innocent people’ in pursuit of a massive pay rise
- Britain’s railways will come to a halt today after last-ditch talks failed to avert the biggest strikes for 30 years
- Militant RMT union is accused of ‘punishing millions of innocent people’ by pressing ahead with the walkouts
- Walkouts will hinder millions trying to get to work and stop patients from attending vital health appointments
- They will last for months to come as RMT chief said striking would continue for ‘as long as it needs to go on’
Union barons will force towns and cities into ‘lockdown’ and cost hospitality firms £1 billion this week, business leaders warned last night.
Britain’s railways will come to a grinding halt today after last-ditch talks failed to avert the biggest strikes for 30 years.
The militant RMT union was accused of ‘punishing millions of innocent people’ by pressing ahead with the walkouts, despite rail bosses offering workers a pay rise of at least 3 per cent – the same given last year to NHS staff who battled the Covid-19 crisis.
The rail industry will also take a £150 million hit at a time when pre-pandemic passenger numbers are yet to return.
The walkouts will hinder millions trying to get to work, stop patients attending vital health appointments and inflict undue stress on students sitting exams.
They will last for months to come and Mick Lynch, the chief of the militant rail union RMT, said striking would continue for ‘as long as it needs to go on’.
Boris Johnson will condemn the strikes today ahead of a Cabinet meeting. He will say: ‘The unions are harming the very people they claim to be helping.
‘By going ahead with these rail strikes, they are driving away commuters who ultimately support the jobs of rail workers, while also impacting businesses and communities across the country.
‘Too-high demands on pay will also make it incredibly difficult to bring to an end the current challenges facing families around the world with rising costs of living.’
In other developments:
- A string of Labour MPs boasted they will join striking rail workers on picket lines today, amid reports the party has banned Shadow Cabinet ministers from taking part;
- Travellers looking to avoid the strikes were warned they face congested roads, overflowing buses and a hike in taxi fares;
- The Prime Minister said public sector workers should brace themselves for a real-terms pay cut to help curb inflation;
- Barristers will go on strike from next week in a row over pay which will paralyse crown courts and delay trials for months.
Labour frontbenchers have been told they are banned from joining RMT members on the picket lines this week.
Keir Starmer has neither condemned, nor backed the walkouts amid criticism from union boss Mick Lynch that he is ‘standing to one side and waiting for somebody to tell them what to do’.
In a message sent to shadow cabinet members today, seen by PoliticsHome, frontbenchers were told: ‘We have robust lines. We do not want to see these strikes to go ahead with the resulting disruption to the public. The government have failed to engage in any negotiations.
‘However, we also must show leadership and to that end, please be reminded that frontbenchers including [parliamentary private secretaries] should not be on picket lines.
‘Please speak to all the members of your team to remind them of this and confirm with me that you have done so.’
But left-wing Labour MPs have vowed ‘solidarity’ with the RMT, with some confirming they will join rail workers on the picket lines.
Zarah Sultana, MP for Coventry, confirmed her attendance on Monday evening, tweeting: ‘I will be on an RMT picket tomorrow to show my solidarity with workers fighting for jobs and fair pay.’
Mary Kelly Foy, MP for City of Durham, also said she will be attending a protest in a statement on Twitter.
She added: ‘I stand with RMT and all workers striking for better pay and conditions. I will be joining workers on the picket line this week.’
Mick Lynch, boss of the militant rail union RMT, has confirmed that walkouts will go ahead today, on Thursday and Saturday
Marta Kotlarak, 40, and husband Radek, 41 with Michael, 18, and Jacob, 16. Jacob has GCSE additional maths on Tuesday and Jacob A Level maths on Thursday. Marta having to cancel business appointments on both days
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, at its headquarters in London this afternoon
Work is on hold while I take sons to exams
A mother has hit out at selfish rail workers who have forced her to cancel business meetings so she can take her sons to their exams.
Marta Kotlarek, 40, must clear her diary to take her youngest boy, Jacob, 16, on a 60-mile round trip for his additional maths GCSE today.
She must then repeat the journey from Flint to Colwyn Bay in North Wales for 18-year-old Michael, who sits his maths A-level on Thursday.
The boys usually take a 20-minute train journey to their school.
Mrs Kotlarek said of the strikers: ‘They could have done this a week later which would have been less disruptive for children, but I don’t think there is a right time to shut down the country.’
The mother-of-two runs garden design company Genesis Gardens with her husband, Radek, 41, and has had to scrap meetings with clients.
She said: ‘By the time I have driven them to the exams I will have to sit and wait for them to finish.
‘It’s wiped out two days of business and added to their stress.
‘The country is just recovering from Covid and they have decided to close it all down again.
‘My children have had to prepare for exams during the pandemic and now they are hit by this on their last week of exams.’
Other colleagues have thrown their backing to the cause, but are yet to go as far as stating they will be joining rail workers tomorrow.
Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, said: ‘Why is someone writing this tosh to our shadow cabinet?
‘Do they not understand that the thing about solidarity is it is reciprocal? If you give it, you get it.
‘If we want the people of this country to support us as a potential government then we have to show them that we support them when they stand up against unfair treatment and try to protect their families.’
Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and Rebecca Long-Bailey, who was among the front runners for the Labour leadership before losing to Starmer, both vowed ‘solidarity’ with RMT members.
There had been hope of a breakthrough in the row over rail jobs and pay after sources close to the negotiations said there was ‘some movement’ from the RMT and ‘small steps of progress’ were being made.
But it was dashed after union boss Mick Lynch confirmed walkouts will go ahead today, on Thursday and Saturday.
Network Rail officially offered the RMT a 2 per cent pay rise with ‘no strings attached’ and a further 1 per cent later in the year if certain efficiency targets were met.
It is understood the rise could have been as much as 5 per cent if the union was willing to accept further modernisation of working practices, such as technology being used more to detect potential faults on the network.
Intense negotiations continued last night, with a source suggesting a deal to avert Thursday’s and Saturday’s walkouts was still possible.
They said: ‘It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.
‘They wouldn’t be coming back, especially at this 11th hour, if we weren’t getting closer, and we are getting closer – it’s just not enough on either side yet to have a good enough package to avert the strikes at this point.’
The RMT is understood to want a pay increase of at least 7.1 per cent, and a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.
Last night Mr Lynch did not rule out strikes going on for longer than the infamous Southern Rail dispute, which ended after 18 months in 2017, raising the prospect of similar walkouts for months.
He said: ‘It will go on until somebody offers us a deal that we can accept and we can put to our members and they vote for it in a referendum.’
He dodged the question of whether it was fair for taxpayers to stump up the extra cash to fund the union’s pay demands, adding: ‘Faced with such an aggressive agenda of cuts to jobs, conditions, pay and pensions, the RMT has no choice but to defend our members industrially.’
But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hit back, saying: ‘By carrying out this action, the RMT is punishing millions of innocent people, instead of calmly discussing the sensible and necessary reforms we need to make in order to protect our rail network.’
Unison members and members of the public take part in a TUC national demonstration in central London to demand action on the cost of living, a new deal for working people and a pay rise for all workers. Picture date: Saturday June 18, 2022
Patients: We’ll miss appointments
Hospital patients say the rail strike could force them to cancel vital appointments.
Carole Railton, 71, who is recovering from long Covid, said she will struggle to make a consultation. ‘I’ve waited five months to see a cardiologist and the appointment is on Thursday,’ she said. ‘I’m obviously feeling frustrated.’
She said it usually takes half an hour to get to Homerton Hospital in east London on the train. The bus takes longer and is not a good option because her health means she cannot stand for long. Cancer survivor Garry Thomas, 50, is ‘livid’ because the strikes threaten an urgent appointment after he spotted a new lump on his neck.
He was due to travel from his home in Wye Valley, Herefordshire, to the Royal London Hospital on Thursday but will now have to drive down the night before. Mr Thomas, treated for Hodgkin lymphoma 20 years ago, accused the unions of playing ‘party politics’.
Consultant oncologist Robert Thomas warned the strikes will ‘lead to loss of lives’ among cancer patients.
He added: ‘We are now on the cusp of major disruption which will cause misery for people right across the country.
‘Many people who do not get paid if they can’t get to work face losing money at a time they simply can’t afford to.
‘Children sitting exams will face the extra distraction of changing their travel plans.
‘And vulnerable people trying to attend long-awaited hospital appointments may have no choice but to cancel.’
The gravy train: RMT accused ‘punishing millions of innocent people’ in pursuit of a massive pay rise
- £59,000 Train drivers’ average pay
- £44,000Rail workers’ average pay
- 17-20%Real-term pay rise since 2011
- £16bn What the rail industry received in emergency Covid support
- £35bnWhat ministers will spend on expanding the rail network over the next three years
- 2%Pay rise – Network Rail offer to workers, along with a further 1% later in the year
- 7.1% Pay rise the union is demanding
- 223,125 Train cancellations last year
Ministers want the railways to make around £2 billion in savings after bailing out the industry to the tune of £16 billion during the pandemic – the equivalent of £600 per household.
They also point out that the median salary for rail workers is already £44,000, well above the national average.
Business chiefs said the strikes ‘could not come at a worse time’ for firms hoping for a summer bounce following the damage caused by Covid.
Ros Morgan, chief executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance, said: ‘The rail and Tube strikes will impose another lockdown on the West End at a time when central London’s economy needs all the support it can get.’
Trade body UKHospitality warned the cost to the industry could top £1 billion this week alone as pubs, bars and restaurants are hit, along with other leisure and tourist activities such as theatres.
Boss Kate Nicholls said: ‘The planned strike action couldn’t come at a worse time, and might deliver a fatal financial blow to those businesses already struggling to survive.’
The boss of the British Beer and Pub Association, Emma McClarkin, said the strikes posed a ‘serious threat’ to the industry and could stop staff getting to work and customers being able to get to venues.
As Labour MPs said they would join striking workers, the unions reacted with fury at reports the party has banned its frontbenchers from picket lines.
A leaked memo from Sir Keir Starmer’s office said Shadow Cabinet members ‘should not be on picket lines’.
Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said: ‘We expect Labour MPs to defend workers, by words and by actions. To instruct Labour MPs not to be on picket lines with workers speaks volumes.
‘You don’t lead by hiding. No-one respects that. It’s time to decide whose side you are on. Workers or bad bosses?’
Around half of the rail network will be shut today, on Thursday and Saturday, with many rural areas completely cut off.
Overall, only one in five services will run as 40,000 RMT members for Network Rail and 13 train companies covering most of the country walk out.
Inter-city services, such as on the East Coast and West Coast main lines, could see service levels of up to 50 per cent.
Due to the shift patterns of critical railway staff, such as signallers, only 60 to 70 per cent of services will run on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday due to the knock-on effects from strike days.
How your trains will be hit during week of strike mayhem
AVANTI WEST COAST
- Limited service of around a quarter of normal timetable, and only between 8am and 6pm.
- A number of routes will not be served, such as to North Wales, Stoke and Edinburgh.
- Ticket sales for travel between today and Sunday suspended to ‘cut disruption and overcrowding’.
- Fewer than a third of normal services, only between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
- This will include two trains per hour from London Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Laindon, and the same frequency from Fenchurch Street to Pitsea via Rainham.
- No trains via Ockendon or Chafford Hundred.
AVANTI WEST COAST: The operator plans to run one train per hour on strike days from London Euston to each of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Preston, with a limited service onwards to Glasgow. The last trains will leave Euston mid-afternoon. There will be no Avanti West Coast services to North Wales, Shrewsbury, Blackpool and Edinburgh on strike days
All departures cancelled between Monday and Friday.
CALEDONIAN SLEEPER: All services on the overnight Caledonian Sleeper have been cancelled from today until Friday
- No trains north of Banbury or to Oxford between today and Saturday.
- Services suspended on ‘most routes’ on strike days due to ‘extremely limited availability of staff’.
CHILTERN RAILWAYS: The service will be extremely limited on the strike days, with the following pattern expected
- No services from Birmingham New Street to Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central, Peterborough, Cambridge or Stansted Airport across the three strike days.
- ‘Very limited service’ planned between Bristol Parkway and Plymouth, and Birmingham New Street and Edinburgh Waverley via Leeds, York and Newcastle.
- Reduced service between Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly.
CROSSCOUNTRY: The network will be running a ‘significantly reduced service’ on the strike days next week as shown above
EAST MIDLANDS RAILWAY
- Services reduced between today and Sunday.
- Just one train per hour in each direction on most routes.
EAST MIDLANDS RAILWAY: The operator will run one train per hour between Nottingham and London, Sheffield and London, Corby and London, Derby and Matlock, Derby and Nottingham, Leicester and Nottingham and Nottingham and Sheffield
- No service on strike days.
- Passengers travelling to Gatwick from London can use Southern or Thameslink trains.
- Sunday service on Gatwick Express on days after the strikes, with late starts and early finishes.
In most cases, just three trains in each direction will be running on strike days.
GRAND CENTRAL: Trains will run to and from Eaglescliffe only, and to and from Wakefield only, with an amended timetable
- Very few trains on strike days, with no services between Ely and King’s Lynn.
- Amended Sunday service on days after strikes.
GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY
- Number of services not running on strike days, including all in Cornwall and Devon and on the South Wales main line, Heart of Wessex line, Severn Beach line, North Cotswolds line and South Cotswolds line.
- More than half the planned trains from London to Castle Cary between tomorrow and Friday cancelled.
GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY: On strike days, a limited service will operate between 7.30am and 6.30pm on the green routes
- No trains on regional and branch lines on strike days.
- A ‘very limited service’ on some routes to and from London Liverpool Street.
GREATER ANGLIA: The normal route map for Greater Anglia is pictured. The network will be running a much-reduced service
Services ‘significantly affected’ this week, with a half-hourly timetable between 7.30am and 6.30pm on strike days.
On strike days, trains will only run between Doncaster and London King’s Cross.
HULL TRAINS: The operator will only be running between Doncaster and London King’s Cross on the three strike days
LONDON NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY
Around 38% of usual service levels are planned.
LONDON NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY
- Services on strike days will be ‘very limited’. This includes just two trains per hour between London Euston and Northampton, and one per hour between Birmingham New Street and Northampton.
- No trains between Euston and Crewe.
- Last train from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh at 2pm, while final service to Leeds departs at 3.05pm.
LONDON NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY: The strike will have a significant impact on travel. Normal services are shown above
‘Some disruption’ to services throughout the week.
No train services and no replacement buses on strike days.
MERSEYRAIL: There will be no Merseyrail train services on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The normal route map is shown
Passengers urged ‘not to travel’ between today and Sunday as services will be suspended ‘on most routes’ during strike days, and there will be a ‘significant impact’ on non-strike days.
NORTHERN RAIL: Only a fraction of the Northern Rail network will run on strike days. The full normal route map is pictured
- No trains north of Glasgow or Edinburgh on strike days.
- Just two trains per hour between the cities via Falkirk.
SCOTRAIL: This map shows the normal network run by ScotRail. Only five lines will be able to run on strike days
SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY
- ‘Severely limited service’ between 7.15am and 6.30pm on strike days, and only on some routes.
- This includes only four trains per hour between London Waterloo and Woking, and two per hour between Waterloo and Basingstoke.
SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY: There will be no trains beyond Southampton to Weymouth; or beyond Basingstoke to Exeter
- Most stations and routes closed on strike days, and a ‘severely reduced service’ elsewhere.
- No services to or from London Victoria or Charing Cross.
- The vast majority of its network in Kent and East Sussex closed, apart from the high-speed route to Ashford International.
SOUTHEASTERN – Limited services set to run between London, Kent and East Sussex next week on June 21, 23 and 25
- Much of the network shut down on strike days.
- Services on the Brighton Mainline to London Bridge and London
- Victoria, with additional trains from Tattenham Corner, Epsom Downs, Sutton and West Croydon, via Crystal Palace.
- Amended Sunday service after each strike day.
Reduced frequency in place, with later first trains and earlier last trains. No services from Stansted to Norwich and Cambridge.
- Far fewer trains than normal on strike days.
- Services split north and south, with nothing between London St Pancras and London Bridge.
- Amended Sunday service after each strike day.
- ‘Significant reduction in available services’ on strike days.
- Several stations closed, such as Middlesbrough, Scarborough and Selby.
- Significant disruption tomorrow and Friday.
TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS: The network will be operating a very limited service on the above routes on strike days this week
TRANSPORT FOR WALES
- Most lines closed on strike days.
- Today and Thursday, a reduced service between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with replacement buses between Radyr and Cardiff Central.
- On Saturday, limited trains between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Pontypridd, with replacement buses between Radyr and Cardiff Central.
TRANSPORT FOR WALES: Almost the entire Transport for Wales network (shown above) will be closed during the strike days
WEST MIDLANDS RAILWAY
- ‘Considerable impact on the number of trains’ on strike days.
- Also be a ‘very limited service’ tomorrow and Friday.
- On strike days, no trains on several routes to and from Birmingham New Street, such as Hereford, Shrewsbury and Walsall
WEST MIDLANDS RAILWAY: The operator says the strike will have ‘considerable impact’. Its normal route map is shown above
‘WFH = watching Eastbourne’: As rail strikes plunge Britain into a £1bn ‘lockdown’ workers who get to stay home voice joy at prospect of ‘sleeping in’, ‘taking it easy’ and ‘enjoying the sun’ this week as others face travel misery
- Thousands of RMT union members at Network Rail to go on strike from Tuesday
- Six days of chaos set to cost the tourism, leisure and theatre industries £1billion
- Scores of ‘thanked’ RMT for letting them ‘sleep in’ and ‘take it easy’ on Twitter
- Millions of others will have to battle it out on packed buses, bike lanes and by foot
Some workers across the country are looking forward to napping, sleeping in and watching the tennis tomorrow as crippling rail strikes mean scores of employees will be allowed to work from home (WFH).
Some users heaped praise on the militant Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) last night for plunging the country into paralysis in pursuit of more pay – telling them: ‘Strike on brothers!’, if it meant they would not have to get up earlier to get into the office.
It comes as thousands of members of RMT at Network Rail and 13 train operators are set to walk out today, Thursday and Saturday – in what hospitality chiefs believe will cost the tourism, leisure and theatre industries some £1billion in lost earnings.
Services across the UK will be affected all week, with just one in five trains running on strike days, primarily on main lines and only for around 11 hours.
Talks between RMT and Network Rail were held into Monday afternoon, but both sides remained deadlocked over a deal.
The RMT say the pay proposals were a ‘2 per cent down payment with the possibility of 1 per cent more’.
It added that the train operators have now made an offer and there is no further offer from Network Rail following one rejected last Friday. London Underground workers from the RMT and Unite unions are also going on strike today.
And many workers are encouraging the action, with one tweeting that they had in effect received a ‘massive pay rise’ due to their savings on travel costs, while others boasted about enjoying ‘sleeping in.’
One brazenly admitted: ‘Tomorrow’s tube strike = WFH = watching Eastbourne.’
Another said they were looking forward to being able to ‘take it easy’.
Passengers at London Waterloo station wait for their trains to arrive on Monday ahead of RMT union walkouts this week
Workers across the country are looking forward to napping, sleeping in and watching the tennis tomorrow as crippling rail strikes mean scores of employees will be allowed to work from home (WFH).
Millions of people not lucky enough to WFH will be forced to battle into work on foot, bike or in rammed buses due to the three days of strikes.
The strike has been designed so there will also be severe disruption for on non-strike days too, causing six days of chaos.
But there are some who are celebrating being to work from home for the week – and a tacit admission by some that they will be spending more time sunbathing than getting on with their jobs in the coming days.
One tweeted: ‘Get to work from home this week. Keep up the good non-work union chaps’.
Another said: ‘A whole wfh week, perhaps the strikes aren’t so bad’.
One critic suggested that the union members walking out over pay this week will be doing so to top up their tans while another shared a picture of the blue skies over Britain and said: ‘Thanks to you brave lads I get to WFH in the sun’.
There are some who are celebrating being to work from home for the week – and a tacit admission by some that they will be spending more time sunbathing than getting on with their jobs in the coming days.
Some shared pictures of their drinks and breakfasts.
It came after RMT boss Mick Lynch warned yesterday that the UK could see a series of rail strikes over the next couple of months if a deal is not reached.
He said: ‘Our campaign will run as long as it needs to run until we get a settlement acceptable to our people. Whenever we get an offer that is tenable we will put that to our members in a referendum.’
Asked if the strikes could last for months if a deal is not reached Mr Lynch replied: ‘I think it will, yes.’
However, Downing Street argued that the strikes will not resolve the issues faced on the railways.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘This is deeply disappointing, that these disruptive, these self-defeating strikes will take place this week. Striking does nothing to address the long-standing issues that we need to sort to make sure our railway, that the public use and treasure, is fit for the long term.’
Some social media users were equally critical last night.
The scale of strikes has not been seen for decades and are already set to last for months
Some social media users were critical of the strikes last night, accusing them of ‘causing misery to the vulnerable’
One branded the RMT ‘awful’ and called for the automation of trains, while another said: ‘The only people they are going to effect are the vulnerable and their care staff travelling to work.’
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps yesterday insisted it ‘takes two to tango’ as he urged union bosses to return to the negotiating table and stop the ‘callous’ strikes.
He branded the action ‘callous’ and admitted his daughter, who is due to take an exam, will be among those affected.
The Transport Secretary took aim at the RMT during a statement to the House of Commons, but he also came under fresh pressure to explain why the Government was not directly involved in Monday’s talks.
Mr Shapps argued the Government is ‘not the employer’ and it is for the train operating companies, Network Rail and the unions to come to an agreement.
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh argued that the strikes going ahead will represent a ‘catastrophic failure of leadership’.
She said: ‘Ministers owe it to all those impacted by this serious disruption to get around the table for last ditch talks, to sort it out and avert this disruption.’
‘Not only has he been boycotting the talks, he’s tied the hands of those at the table. He and his department failed to give the train operating companies, a party to these talks, any mandate to negotiate whatsoever.
‘These talks are a sham because ministers have set them up to fail.’
Mr Shapps replied: ‘That was a lot of words to avoid using… the four words ‘I condemn the strikes’.’
He added: ‘The unions wrongly told their workers that there would be no pay rise: there will be a pay rise, because the pay freeze is coming to an end, so that was untrue.’
The Transport Secretary also said RMT general-secretary Mick Lynch had made clear he had ‘walked out’ of the talks with employers, adding: ‘We are ready to speak, we want to see this settled, pay offers have been put down, the modernisation is required in return, it takes two to tango.’
Mr Lynch earlier said: ‘The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead. It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4billion of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.
‘The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years. At the behest of the Government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.’
Train cancellations started early on Monday afternoon ahead of the worst shutdown of Britain’s railways for 30 years from today that will cause another effective lockdown for the UK’s already stuttering economy amid union barons’ threat to hold strikes up until Christmas.
It comes after they vowed to bring the country to a standstill in a ‘summer of discontent’ not seen since the 1926 General Strike with railway and Tube workers set to be bolstered by 155,000 comrades at airports, Royal Mail and BT.
More than 1million council workers and teachers could strike in the Autumn.
Who else is set to join the summer strike contagion?
Strikes could spread across the economy in the coming months. These are the areas affected – and those which could be hit – and the unions behind the ballots.
Strikes by the RMT across three days this week will close half of the country’s rail network and reduce service to a fifth of normal levels.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) is also balloting thousands of staff at Network Rail and several train companies, with the possibility of strikes as soon as July.
The train drivers’ union Aslef is set to strike at Greater Anglia and the Croydon Tramlink in the coming weeks.
Unite is also balloting about 500 British Airways check-in staff at Heathrow over a refusal to reverse a 10 per cent pandemic pay cut. If workers vote in favour, strikes are likely in July – potentially ruining some summer holidays.
Teachers’ union NAS/UWT will ballot members over action unless the Government backs demands for a 12 per cent pay rise. A pay award for 2022/23 is due in November.
The National Education Union has said it will ballot its 460,000 members if a pay rise in line with inflation is not offered by the Government.
Unison, which represents NHS staff, has said strikes are possible unless the annual pay offer for them is not close to the rate of inflation. The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, has also said it will prepare for a ballot unless junior doctors are given a 22 per cent ‘restorative’ pay rise.
The Royal College of Nursing has also demanded a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation.
The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents civil service workers, will hold a ballot in September over pay, pensions and redundancies.
The Unison, GMB and Unite unions have said local government staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should receive a pay increase of at least £2,000 each. Workers include rubbish collectors, library staff, teaching assistants and care workers.
Unite said it will support ‘any action’ by workers to achieve a pay rise.
Barristers have voted to go on strike in a row over legal aid funding.
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which represents barristers in England and Wales, said several days of court walkouts will begin from next week.
The promised industrial action, announced on Monday following a ballot of members, comes at a time of significant backlogs across the court system.
They are the latest profession to go on strike, ahead of planned action by rail workers later this week, and reports of unrest among teaching staff and NHS employees.
The Communication Workers Union will ballot Royal Mail workers in a dispute over a pay rise offer of 2 per cent.
The union has also sent ballot papers to BT workers including engineers, contact centre staff and retail employees over pay. It could result in the first strike at the company since it was privatised in the mid-1980s.
For some commuters hit by rising fuel costs and rail strikes, it is the glimmer of a silver lining.
This month traffic wardens will start a seven-day strike in protest at pay cuts and ‘fire and rehire’ tactics.
The walkout in Wiltshire means penalty charge notices will not be issued and charges in council car parks will not be enforced, costing £30,000 in revenue.
The action by the GMB from June 30 to July 6 follows two days of strikes in the county in May.
The union is opposing a pay cut of 10 per cent, or £2,000 a year, for traffic wardens, and said members were ‘at the end of their tether’.
Wiltshire Council is seeking to save £800,000 annually by ending contractual unsocial hours payments for almost 350 staff, including social workers and care workers.