Monday, 4 Jul 2022

Strike chaos set to worsen as teachers and doctors threaten to join RMT action

Train strikes: Sophie Raworth grills Lisa Nandy on plans

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This week will see many of the rail networks and TFL train services severely delayed or entirely closed down, also impacting the bus routes and other transport links. The strike action is being led by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) after its general secretary Mick Lynch said strikes will continue into the summer if the dispute over pay and job losses is not resolved.

Alongside the rail workers, it has been reported that teachers are also considering joining the strike which includes doctors, nurses, local Government staff, postal workers, and criminal law barristers who could bring the crown courts to a standstill.

Teachers are hoping to secure an offer of a significant increase in pay of up to 12 percent by Wednesday and will begin strike action if this does not happen.

Staff in the NHS are also due to be informed about a decision on their pay this week after asking for an increase of 5 percent above inflation which is soaring and is thought to reach 11 percent this year.

The announcement will be met with a protest in the form of strikes by the nursing union if the pay award is thought to be insufficient.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, vowed to write to the Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi outlining the pay increase demanded by teachers.

Ms Bousted told The Times: “The case for a better deal for teachers will be set out in full this Wednesday in our letter to the secretary of state.

“If it should fall on deaf ears, and teachers are offered a pay rise significantly below inflation, then we will proceed to an indicative ballot of our members.

“Teachers have had enough of a Government which simply does not value them.”

Mr Lynch told Sky News: “I think there are going to be many unions that are balloting across the country because people can’t take it anymore.

“We’ve got people doing full-time jobs who are having to take state benefits and use foodbanks. That is a national disgrace.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been accused of threatening and intimidating rail workers due to strike after a speech last week in London.

Mr Shapps spoke directly to workers instead of the unions at a Siemens train depot in London and said: “Don’t risk striking yourselves out of a job.

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“Don’t pitch yourselves against the public.”

Ministers are also attempting to hire agency and temporary workers to help keep transport links moving this week.

Mr Shapps said: “Transferrable skills, sometimes called agency working, will be something which will become available as well in this particular dispute.”

The Transport Secretary and Boris Johnson have been criticised by Labour after a spokesperson for the opposition said: “The only people who want these strikes to go ahead are Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps, who haven’t spent a second in talks to avert them since March.”

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