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Half-A-Million Education Workers Take Strike Action Across UK

Over 500,000 public and private sector workers, mainly in the education sector, walked out over pay Tuesday, in what was the single largest strike in Britain in a  decade.

Over 300,000 teachers, 100,000 civil servants, 70,000 university workers and 100,000 train and bus drivers were involved in the day of coordinated action by trade unions throughout the UK.

Although each union had their own demands, the common theme was over pay. In the year up to October 2022, public sector pay rose by 2.6% compared to the private sector’s 6.7%. In the same period, inflation rose by nearly 11%. 

Unions that were out in force Monday, including the newly formed National Education Union, the Public and Commercial Services Union and University and College Union, demanded inflation-busting pay rises to cover the cost-of-living crisis.

These strikes follow a tumultuous few months of industrial action as nurses, ambulance drivers, postal workers and train drivers all went on strike, sometimes over multiple days of action. 

February will see many of these same workers strike again in what is becoming a prolonged industrial dispute between unions and a government trying to cut spending. 

A government spokesperson told CNBC: “Ever since these strikes were threatened, the government has been preparing to do all it can to mitigate any disruption caused and we have extensive contingency plans in place.”

They added: “Of course the best mitigation would be for union bosses to call off planned strikes, to keep talking and to come to an agreement.”

NEU executive member Leigh-Amanda Seedhouse, criticised the government’s lack of action over education: “We have constantly tried to tell the government that things are going very wrong but the government has ignored us.”

“The government has missed its target for recruitment of new secondary school teachers by 41% and by 11% for primary school teachers.”

As union members marched in their respective cities to draw attention to their cause, crowds were heard shouting ‘Tories out’ and displayed placards criticising the government, signalling a growing hostility towards the Conservative party by sections of British society. 

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Tags: #UK #education #NEU #Teacherstrike #payrise


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