UK schools, universities and Royal Mail go on strike as industrial unrest worsens

The strike action caused turmoil in British schools, universities and the Royal Mail as tens of thousands of workers went on strike amid worsening labor unrest.

About 70,000 members of the Universities and Universities Union (UCU) are on strike Thursday, Friday and again on November 30th.

Meanwhile, teachers across Scotland closed all schools on mainland Scotland and joined the first national wage strike in nearly 40 years.

Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) have also gone on strike at the Royal Mail, advancing a series of strikes in the coming weeks after the union rejected the company’s “final” proposal.

This comes just one day after the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union announced it would carry out a series of 48-hour strikes in December and January, causing chaos during the festive season.

Epoch Times photo
Lecturers picket outside King’s College London, London, November 24, 2022 (Stefan Rousseau/PA Media)


For a decade, lecturers and other academic staff have struggled with below-inflation wage increases, according to UCU. In the summer he announced a 3% rise.

UCU general secretary Joe Grady said its members were “fed up” with lower salaries, cut pensions and working conditions in the gig economy.

“Our members are absolutely in favor of this strike because they know what is at stake,” she said.

However, Raj Jethwa, chief executive of the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), said that the strike “does nothing” to support students, staff or many higher education (HE) institutions. It doesn’t stand up,” he said. level.

He said the institution was “particularly disappointed that UCU is encouraging its members to target students who have endured so much recent turmoil.”

He added: ($1.8 billion).

“UCU leaders need to provide members with a realistic and fair assessment of what is achievable, because strike action does not generate funding for new departments.”

Jethwa said the university is “well prepared to deal with the impact of this industrial action” and has “effective mitigation measures in place to minimize disruption to learning and services to students and staff.” ‘ said.

rail talk

Also on Thursday, Transportation Secretary Mark Harper met with RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch about the ongoing labor dispute in the rail sector.

After meeting with union leaders, Harper said in a statement:

“We have something in common. We both want to end the dispute and we want a prosperous railway that serves both passengers and workers. , must work together across the industry to ensure the prosperity of the railway industry.

“There is an agreement to be made and we believe we will get there. We want to help RMT and employers reach an agreement and end the dispute for the benefit of travelers.”

Lynch said the minister agreed to write to him about how he sees the union’s dispute with the railroad operator “moving forward and moving towards a resolution.”

The Secretary of Transportation also said he would “consider” establishing a liaison group at the ministerial level so industry and unions could talk to them about how a settlement could be achieved, Lynch said. rice field.

He said their meeting was “positive” in the sense that they “got rid of the belligerent nonsense we once had.”

“We are starting a dialogue now,” he told reporters outside the Ministry of Transport.

Christmas chaos

More than 40,000 RMT members will go on strike on December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and January 3, 4, 6 and 7. That means RMT will take industrial action over her four weeks.

RMT said it was forced to go on strike after Network Rail and railway operators failed to offer improvements in terms of employment, wages and conditions.

However, the Ministry of Transport said: These strikes are not only damaging the economy, they are cutting off people in need of urgent care, school-going children and hard-working families. “

Labor and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said the consequences of the strike were “very serious” and would disrupt medical appointments as well as family reunions during the festive period.

“The timing of these strikes is designed to create maximum disruption over the Christmas period,” he told TalkTV on Nov. 23.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan