Strikes 2022 UK – live: NHS and critical sectors could be banned from walkouts

Rishi Sunak says government’s pay offers ‘reasonable’ despite strikes

Rishi Sunak’s government is looking at whether NHS staff and other workers in the emergency services could be banned from taking part in strikes, cabinet minister Gillian Keegan has said.

Ms Keegan confirmed that ministers were considering legislation to stop health workers and others in “areas of critical infrastructure” from taking industrial action.

The government is said to be drawing up plans to curb the rights of NHS workers, firefighters and Border Force officials to strike.

Ms Keegan told LBC: “There’s some people, as a matter of public safety, you can’t go on strike.

“I think what we’re looking at is, are there other areas that we should include in that. Health would be one to look at and other areas of critical infrastructure.”

It comes as passengers have been warned of expert flight cancellations over Christmas as airport staff are set to strike.

Customs workers have also voted to strike at major airports over Christmas, threatening further travel chaos during the busy holiday period.

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Nurses, trains and Royal Mail: Every strike planned in the run up to Christmas

As inflation has climbed steadily throughout the year, workers have seen rising prices eroding their earnings – just as employers have been trying to make savings or modernize working practices to cope with increasing costs.

The result? Clashes over pay, redundancies, pensions and terms and conditions.

A new “winter of discontent” had begun even before Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on 17 November, which left householders everywhere feeling even worse off.

These are the professions and industries for which strike dates have already been announced:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 09:49

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Union leader urges troops not to ‘strike break’ ahead of airport walkout

Mark Serwotka of the PCS union revealed he has written to the head of the armed forces Admiral Sir Tony Radakin warning it would be an “outrage” if government ministers sent the military in to do jobs like passport checks at the borders.

His call came as the general secretaries of the TUC and the Unison public sector union demanded a face to face meeting with chancellor Jeremy Hunt for “meaningful” talks on pay to avert industrial action.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 09:27

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NHS staff could be banned from striking, says cabinet minister

Rishi Sunak’s government is looking at whether NHS staff and other workers in the emergency services could be banned from taking part in strikes, cabinet minister Gillian Keegan has said.

Ms Keegan confirmed that ministers were considering legislation to stop health workers and others in “areas of critical infrastructure” from taking industrial action.

The government is said to be drawing up plans to curb the rights of NHS workers, firefighters and Border Force officials to strike.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 08:52

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Keegan says she would support Sunak’s tough new laws to prevent strike disruption

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said she would support extending legislation to ensure minimum levels of service during industrial action on transport to other public services including health.

Rishi Sunak has promised “tough” new laws to limit the impact of strike action and did not rule out banning strikes in emergency services, after Downing Street suggested his measures will include widening anti-strike legislation to other public services.

Asked if she would support such a move, Ms Keegan said: “Well yes, I mean, I think we do have some areas where strikes are not allowed as part of the contract. So, for example, the military can’t go on strike and the police.

“There’s some people… as a matter of public safety, you can’t go on strike.

“And I think what we’re looking at is, you know, are there other areas that we should include in that? Health would be one to look at and other areas of critical infrastructure.”

Asked if teachers would be included, she said: “I don’t know. I mean, I haven’t looked at that.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 08:40

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Education secretary ‘hopes’ teachers strike not inevitable

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said she “very much hopes” a teachers’ strike in England is not inevitable and that the £2bn settlement over the next two years is “enough”.

“We’ve accepted the pay recommendations in full – between 5% and 8.9% depending on whether you’re an experienced teacher or a new teacher. So we’ve tried our very best to meet all the requirements,” she told Times Radio.

Ms Keegan added that what the unions are asking for is “a lot higher” than what the independent pay review body recommended.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 08:20

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Expect disruption and delays, says the minister

Cabinet minister Gillian Keegan said “we should be extremely grateful” to 2,000 soldiers who will fill in for striking Border Force staff over the festive period.

The education secretary told Sky News: “It’s very disappointing that the Border Force will be striking over Christmas.”

She added: “We’ve got 2,000 military personnel who are trained who are going to try and mitigate and try and help with some of those roles at the border. But you know, we do expect there will be disruption and delays, but they will do their best.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 08:01

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Education secretary says government tried ‘their best’ to meet teachers’ demands

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said the government had “tried our very best” to meet teachers’ demands and hopes the pay settlement is “enough” to quell strikes.

Asked whether a teacher strike is inevitable, she told Times Radio: “I very much hope not. Obviously the teachers are voting at the moment but our children have missed enough education through the pandemic.

“So we’re very much hoping that the £2 billion settlement… is enough.

“We’ve accepted the pay recommendations in full – between 5% and 8.9% depending on whether you’re an experienced teacher or a new teacher.

“So we’ve tried our very best to meet all the requirements.”

She added that what the unions are asking for is “a lot higher” than what the independent pay review body recommended.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 07:42

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Teachers on second day of strike action

Teachers across Scotland will hold a second day of strike action this week in a dispute over pay.

NASUWT Scotland and the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) have downed tools over what they say was a “divisive and inadequate” pay offer.

Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) members working in schools went on strike last week, closing the majority of schools across Scotland.

Most secondary schools affected are partially closed this week, with many asking senior pupils to attend as normal.

The SSTA says the Scottish Government has failed to make contact since November 22 to avert further strikes this week.

The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers offered a 5% pay award which was “unanimously rejected” by teaching unions.

Seumas Searson, general secretary of the SSTA, said: “Members are taking part in the strike this week to send a hard message to the employer and Scottish Government that teachers demand to be respected and receive a professional salary that will act to retain teachers in Scottish schools.

“The latest offer was quickly rejected by the teacher unions and was deliberately divisive and inadequate. This apparent show of contempt for teachers by this victim has hardened the resolve of members and forced the SSTA to take the strongest form of action.

“For many SSTA members this will be the first strike they will have taken part in, and this action will have caused a great deal of anxiety not only for themselves but for the pupils they teach.

“The SSTA can only apologize to the pupils and their parents who are stuck in the middle of a dispute that should have been resolved months ago. Teachers do not want to be taking strike action as they would rather be in school teaching.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain8 December 2022 07:23

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Rail dispute slipping further from resolution, says union boss

A resolution in the long-running rail dispute is further away, after a last-minute intervention from the government in talks over pay, jobs and conditions, a union has claimed.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said it has heard from rail companies that there will be no revised offer from them, after being “instructed” by the government instead to “take on” planned strikes next week.

The RMT said it was “absolutely clear” that train operators’ plans for a revised and improved offer had been blocked by the government.

A union spokesperson said: “The planned industrial action for RMT train operating company members goes ahead as scheduled, as there is no resolution to the dispute and in fact a resolution is now further away due to the government’s late intervention in the negotiating process.”

Passengers were being warned that even if the RMT called off strikes on 12 December following their membership referendum on an offer from Network Rail, it would be too late to reinstate services.

As a result, it was now “inevitable” that industrial action on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December would see around half of the network shut down, with around 20 per cent of normal services running.

Liam James8 December 2022 07:00

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UK strikes timeline: How December’s industrial action will affect you

Only one day before now and Christmas will be strike-free as teachers, postal workers, train drivers and other railway workers, airport staff, bus drivers and others walk out in pursuit of better pay and working conditions.

Joe Sommerlad walks through all the industrial action taking place this month:

Liam James8 December 2022 06:00

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