Monday, 27 Mar 2023

Who’s on strike today and how will it affect you? Daily update for February 23

Today’s another busy day of strikes, with ambulance drivers and civil servants among those picketing over pay and working conditions.

Around 4,000 Health and social care workers who are members of the biggest unions in the UK, Unite, in Northern Ireland will walk out today.

Union officials have pointed to wages that have barely kept up with inflation, severe staff shortages, rising burnout and risks to public safety.

In recent months, Northern Ireland’s health service, Health and Social Care, has faced sustained pressure, with officials advising people to expect long waits at emergency departments due to bed shortages.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘With chronic low pay making it impossible to recruit and retain essential health workers, the health service in Northern Ireland is facing an existential crisis.’

Elsewhere in the health sector, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service will also be taking industrial action over pay and fears the service is deteriorating.

The second round of the 48-hour strikes will see ambulance workers among those returning to the picket lines during shifts.

Paramedics taking part in the stoppage will still be on standby to respond to critical calls, however.

Unite’s lead regional officer for health in Northern Ireland, Kevin McAdam, said: ‘Nobody should be in any doubt regarding our members’ determination to defend their living standards amid an unprecedented cost of living crisis.’

Several airports in some of the most far-flung places in Scotland will see flights ground to a halt today.

More than 120 workers across the Highlands and Islands Airports, a company owned by the Scottish government that operates 11 regional airports in Scotland, will walk out.

Workers include security and emergency rescue staff, baggage handlers and ground crew.

While the industrial action is impacting 11 airports today, not all will be shut down.

Which airports will and won’t be affected by the strike?

According to Highlands and Islands Airports, the following airports will be closed for flights:

  • Barra
  • Benbecula
  • Stornoway
  • Sumburgh
  • Tiree
  • Kirkwall Airport will be partially open for inter-island flights only,

While the following airports will be running as normal:

  • Campbeltown
  • Dundee
  • Inverness
  • Islay
  • Wick John O’Groats

At those remaining open, the Unite predicts that the action might result in mail not getting through to offshore workers not being able to return home.

The workforce had previously shot down a 5% pay increase amid the cost-of-living crisis, with inflation stubbornly in the double-digits for months.

Unite claimed that the Scottish Government has never met with the union to discuss pay, recruitment and retention of HIA workers.

Shauna Wright, Unite industrial officer said: ‘Unite has no choice but to escalate our industrial action across the HIAL Group.

‘Our members keep the airports operating in isolated and rural communities. They help to ensure that businesses can trade, workers can travel and visitors can come to the islands.

‘The way they have been treated by the Scottish Government and HIAL management is deeply disappointing.’

A wave of labour unrest is continuing for civil servants who are part of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) today, too.

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) employees at an array of job centres are taking their 13th day of job action over pay, pensions, job security and redundant terms.

This includes the Toxteth Jobcentre, Liverpool Duke Street Jobcentre, Liverpool City Jobcentre and Liverpool Innovation Park Jobcentre.

The strike action won’t stop there, however, and will continue for another week.

The targeted stoppage at the Toxteth Jobcentre is in response to the government shutting down the centre, which would result in 200 jobs being moved.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) staff who assess a driver’s fitness before granting them a licence are also staging a stoppage.

After taking five days of job action last month, DVLA members working at Drivers Medical in Swansea and Birmingham are striking for six days until Saturday.

This will include staff at the Swansea Morriston main site and at the DVLA Birmingham office.

Strike action will also impact the Animal and Plant Health Agency, part of the  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which monitors diseases and pests in animals and plant life.

Agency staff at the Centre for International Trade in Bristol and Carlisle have been on strike since Monday and will do so until tomorrow.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

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