Britain's summer of strikers as nurses, teachers and binmen could walk out

20 June 2022, 06:47 | Updated: 20 June 2022, 11:21

Thousands of public sector workers are demanding a pay rise
Thousands of public sector workers are demanding a pay rise. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Britain could see more strike misery with teachers, nurses and binmen considering walking out in disputes over pay.

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On Monday morning, barristers voted to go on strike in a row over legal aid funding.

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which represents barristers in England and Wales, said several days of court walkouts will begin from next week.

The promised industrial action, announced on Monday following a ballot of members, comes at a time of significant backlogs across the court system.

Yesterday two teaching unions - the National Education Union and NASUWT - warned they were considering balloting members over strike action if a significant pay rise is not offered.

The NEU has 450,000 members, whilst NASUWT has 300,000.

The Daily Mail reports that half a million NHS staff - including nurses - could strike over wages.

Local government workers, including binmen, could also walk out, according to the paper.

Read more: Rail union threatens strikes until Christmas as workers demand 7 per cent raise

Read more: Everything you need to know about this week's rail strikes

NHS workers are demanding a pay rise
NHS workers are demanding a pay rise. Picture: Alamy

The strikes are all about wages, which have fallen relative to inflation in recent months.

The disparity is only set to get worse.

The Bank of England expects inflation to hit 11 per cent by the end of the year.

Teachers and nurses have been offered pay rises of three per cent.

RMT union boss Mick Lynch said on Saturday: "There are going to be many unions balloting across the country, because people can't take it anymore."

Public sector workers want a pay rise in line with inflation
Public sector workers want a pay rise in line with inflation. Picture: Alamy

Thousand of people took to London's streets over the weekend to demand fair pay in the face of the worsening cost of living crisis.

Demonstrators carried banners reading "cut war not welfare" and "end fuel poverty, insulate homes now".

Teachers and local government workers were among the attendees for the event, organised by the TUC.

This week will see Britain's biggest rail strikes in 30 years as staff walk out up and down the country.

Workers are set to strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week, with more than 50 per cent of the rail network shut.

The RMT said workers are striking as Network Rail is lining up 2,500 job cuts in rail maintenance, and they are striking over a pay freeze, demanding an increase in line with inflation.

Read more: 'Biggest rail strike in modern history' to go ahead after last-ditch pay talks fail

Read more: Rail workers demand 7% raise as union 'gunning' for strike set to bring misery to millions

Mr Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union, said they are "not asking for the world" as he defended their decision to strike.

"Everybody is aware by now that we've got a threat to jobs, we want a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies. We've got the threat to working conditions - which is a really important part of this dispute - and we've got the pay issue which is ongoing," he told LBC's Tom Swarbrick on Sunday.

"Most of our members haven't had a pay rise in two or three years - that includes Network Rail and the train operating companies.

"Our people are getting poorer while their jobs are under threat. And if you survive the jobs cull that they've got in mind your working conditions will be diluted and you'll be worse off."

Protesters took to the streets of London over the weekend
Protesters took to the streets of London over the weekend. Picture: Alamy

Mr Lynch said strikes could be avoided if they are offered an acceptable settlement within the next 48 hours.

But negotiations so far have failed to make progress - and Mr Lynch has now warned rail staff could stage strikes right up until Christmas.

Watch: Minister calls on Mayor of London to drop congestion charge on rail strike days

Read more: Union 'punishing millions' with next week's rail strike, transport secretary warns

The RMT says it has a 'mandate' for six months of industrial action, sparking fears of strikes all the way up until the festive period if the pay row isn't resolved.

According to the Telegraph, rail bosses are preparing for a war of ‘attrition’ that could last for months.

They are reportedly planning to offer cash bonuses for signal workers to cross picket lines.