The strike wave in Britain intensifies and more than 200,000 people walk out

On Thursday and Friday, more than 200,000 workers went on strike. The strike wave in Britain is growing despite all attempts by the trade union bureaucracy to slow it down.

A two-day strike by 115,000 Communications Workers Union (CWU) postal workers at Royal Mail on Thursday and Friday coincided with a 48-hour walkout led by 70,000 university staff across all higher education institutions in the UK and a strike by almost 50,000 teachers in Scotland. These three groups of workers have other strike days planned, notably November 30 and December 1 by university staff and postal workers. On Friday, the Education Institute of Scotland announced another 16 consecutive strike days for January and February.

Picket line at the University of Bradford, 24 November 2022 [Photo: WSWS] [Photo: WSWS]

At Britain’s biggest employer, the National Health Service (NHS), 300,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing have voted to strike: a two-day strike is planned for next month. Almost half a million NHS workers belonging to Unison, Britain’s biggest public sector union, completed the vote on Friday. Other health unions are in the process of voting, including 30,000 members of the Royal College of Midwives. The Unite union will complete the vote for its NHS members next week. Tens of thousands of doctors in training are expected to vote for a strike in the new year.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced a further eight days of nationwide action between 13 December and 7 January by 40,000 members of the Network Rail and Rail Operating Company (TOC). Strikes by thousands of members of the train drivers’ union ASLEF continue and a national strike – their fifth this year – took place on Saturday.

In response to this escalation of the class struggle, Times released a concerned editorial titled “All Out” on Friday. Referring to the strike by postal workers and education workers, he said: ‘If Britain really faces another winter of discontent, it started in earnest yesterday. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of workers have gone on strike to paralyze public services…”

The leader warns: “With inflation at 11.1 per cent showing no sign of abating in the near term, workers will inevitably demand that their meager wages rise at a comparable rate. Every employer in the public and private sectors faces this unavoidable pressures from their workers”.


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