Here’s a round-up of trade union and labour related news from around the UK. In this programme union leaders announce plans for major strikes in health, post and rail sectors, Unison calls on Welsh Government to make deals with health workers to avoid strike action and military personnel take over passport inspection as Border Force workers go on strike.
Union leaders announce plans for major strikes in health, post and rail sectors
Union leaders in the UK have announced new dates for strikes in the new year across the health, post, and rail sectors. The government has been criticized for using the military to undermine strikes and for paying armed forces personnel a bonus of £20 per day for taking the place of striking workers. Nurses and ambulance workers will go on strike in January, and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has announced strikes for tomorrow. The RMT has accused the government of sabotaging attempts to negotiate with employers, and has said it is still willing to negotiate. The General Medical Services union and Unison have also announced new dates for strikes by ambulance workers following a strike last Wednesday. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced new strike dates for January, following the first-ever strike by the organization last Tuesday.
The RCN union has announced new strikes for Wednesday 18 January and Thursday 19 January after the government failed to make any new pay offer. This follows strikes on 15 and 20 December. Picket line details will be out early in 2023.
The Unison union has called further ambulance strikes on Wednesday 11 January and Monday 23 January. The GMB union has wrongly called off strikes planned for 28 December—but has instead called action alongside Unison on 11 January.
Union Unison has called on the Welsh government to make a pay deal with health workers in order to avoid strike action
Union Unison has called on the Welsh government to make a pay deal with health workers in order to avoid strike action. Unison has asked the government to “reprioritize” spending, including a £460m ($622m) tax giveaway to businesses, in order to reach a “meaningful agreement” and prevent conflict. Health workers in Wales voted by more than 90% in favour of strike action over pay, but did not meet the turnout threshold set by the Westminster government in its anti-union legislation. Unison is calling for a pay increase of £1,400, which it argues is a real-terms pay cut, and is reballoting its members in the Welsh Ambulance Service following disruption caused by strikes at Royal Mail.
Military personnel take over passport inspections at major airports as Border Force workers go on strike
Military personnel have taken over passport inspections at major airports in the UK, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, as Border Force immigration workers went on strike. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) are striking after suffering years of real-terms pay cuts. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said that armed forces personnel will receive daily bonuses of £20 after tax for covering the strikes between 19 December and 2 January. The strikes have also affected jobcentres, driving test centres, the Rural Payment Agency and the Highways Agency. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has warned that travellers could face further disruption unless the government improves its pay proposals.
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