'We don't have glue sticks to offer': Teachers join junior doctors and tube drivers as mass Budget Day strikes sweep the UK

15 March 2023, 17:40 | Updated: 15 March 2023, 17:45

Hundreds of thousands of workers will stage industrial action on Wednesday amid ongoing disputes over issues including pay, jobs, pensions and conditions.
Hundreds of thousands of workers will stage industrial action on Wednesday amid ongoing disputes over issues including pay, jobs, pensions and conditions. Picture: LBC / Alamy / Getty

By Danielle DeWolfe

Teachers have joined junior doctors and tube drivers as hundreds of thousands as part of a fresh wave of UK strike action, with one educator desperatadding: "we don't have glue sticks to offer".

Emmanuel Adebayo, a 36-year-old primary school teacher from Haringey, north London, joined thousands of teachers descending on Central London, appealing to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt for an increase in funding amid "very poor" conditions.

Expressing her frustration at deteriorating conditions, she added: "At the moment working conditions are really poor, we don't have glue sticks to offer and we can't take the children on trips".

Teachers, junior doctors, university lecturers, London Underground drivers, civil servants, and BBC journalists staged strikes around the country to coincide with the Spring Budget, in what is estimated to be the biggest walkout in recent memory.

Read more: Jeremy Hunt 'to announce 30 hours of free childcare for one and two-year-olds' in bid to aid workforce

Read more: What to expect from Jeremy Hunt’s Budget?

Some teachers carried signs reading "pay up" and attacking Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for being in the "bottom set".

Members of the National Union of Journalists working at BBC Local across England will stage a 24-hour walkout in a dispute over programme cuts.

Commuters in London have been warned there will be "little or no service" on the Tube due to disruption caused by a walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) and Aslef unions.

Meanwhile junior doctors in the British Medical Association (BMA) will continue a three-day strike over pay that began on Monday.

Despite negotiations being held between unions and ministers, talks to the end the strikes have remained largely deadlocked.

On the first of their three-day of nationwide industrial action, striking junior doctors stand at their union picket line outside St Thomas' NHS Hospital, on 13th March 2023, in London.
On the first of their three-day of nationwide industrial action, striking junior doctors stand at their union picket line outside St Thomas' NHS Hospital, on 13th March 2023, in London. Picture: Getty

However, some strikes, such as those by teachers, will only be held in England after progress in negotiations was made in Wales and Scotland.

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka has warned that their walkout on Wednesday is just the start of a string of strikes that could continue until the end of the year.

"On budget day we're asking Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to give our hard-working members a fair pay rise," Mr Serwotka said.

The strikes will coincide with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget.
The strikes will coincide with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget. Picture: HM Treasury

"We've been given a 2% pay rise when food inflation was 16% last week. 40,000 civil servants use food banks and 45,000 claim in-work benefits because they're so poor.

"The government can stop these strikes today by putting money on the table for our members."

GP not happy with lack of coverage on junior doctors' strikes

He added: "Shamefully, ministers don't seem interested in giving their own employees a fair pay rise to help them through the cost-of-living crisis and beyond."

Striking Teachers march from Islington Green for a rally at the town hall on March 2, 2023 in London, England.
Striking Teachers march from Islington Green for a rally at the town hall on March 2, 2023 in London, England. Picture: Getty

Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, said: "We do not want to go on strike - we want to be in the classroom, teaching and supporting children and young people.

A sign warns travelers of the closure of London Bridge station during the morning rush hour as strike action takes place on February 03, 2023 in London, England.
A sign warns travelers of the closure of London Bridge station during the morning rush hour as strike action takes place on February 03, 2023 in London, England. Picture: Getty

"It continues to be a regret that our members have to take strike action, but we know that parents and the public understand the gravity of the situation around school funding and teacher recruitment and retention."

Rachel Johnson says childcare should be a top priority in Jeremy Hunt's upcoming budget.

In a letter to parents on Tuesday ahead of the walkouts, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: "This industrial action will mean more disruption to children's education and to your lives too - whether that's work, arranging childcare or changing other plans.

"I am extremely disappointed that many young people will once again miss invaluable time learning with their teachers and friends, particularly after their education was significantly disrupted during the pandemic."

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