Industry

Civil servants, train drivers in UK to go on strike as wave of industrial action intensifies

Around 100,000 civil servants will go on strike over pay, pensions, jobs and redundancy terms, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union announced on Thursday.

PCS, Britain’s sixth largest trade union, represents civil and public servants, as well as private sector workers on government contracts. Their members work in areas such as government departments, the border force, passport office, as well as driving examiners and job center staff.

The union is calling for a 10% pay rise – so that it matches inflation – fair pensions, job security and no cuts to redundancy terms.

“Unless substantial proposals are received from the government the NEC (National Executive Committee) will agree a programme of industrial action at its meeting on Friday, 18 November,” PCS said in a statement.

The statement added that the union’s ballot met the 50% legal turnout threshold in 126 areas of public services. The average vote in favor of industrial action was 86.2%, which is the highest in the union’s history.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka has already written to the Cabinet Office calling for negotiations.

In a statement, Serwotka said: “The Government must look at the huge vote for strike action across swathes of the Civil Service and realise it can no longer treat its workers with contempt.

“Our members have spoken and if the Government fails to listen to them, we’ll have no option than to launch a prolonged programme of industrial action reaching into every corner of public life.”

“They have to give our members a 10 per cent pay rise, job security, pensions justice and protected redundancy terms,” Serwotka added.

Train drivers to strike on Nov. 26

Train drivers at 12 operators will go on strike on Nov. 26 in a long running dispute over pay, Aslef, the union for train drivers, also announced on Thursday.

Mick Whelan, the union’s general secretary, said: “We regret that passengers will be inconvenienced for another day. We don’t want to be taking this action.”

“They want drivers to take a real terms pay cut. With inflation now well into double figures, train drivers who kept Britain moving through the pandemic are now being expected to work just as hard this year as last year but for less. Most of these drivers have not had an increase in salary since 2019,” Whelan said.

“We want the companies – which are making huge profits – to make a proper pay offer so that our members can keep up with the cost of living,” he added.

Both strikes were announced today as the London underground service was disrupted by strike action by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Unite, who are engaged in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs, and pensions.

On Wednesday, Britain’s Royal College of Nursing (RCN) voted to hold its first national strike in its 106-year history in a dispute over pay.

The strike will involve nurses in many, but not all, NHS services across the UK. The RCN has over 300,000 members.

On Tuesday, the University and College Union (UCU) announced the largest ever university strikes to hit the UK over pay, conditions, and pensions.

The strike, which will take place on three days this month, will involve over 70,000 university staff at 150 universities, potentially impacting 2.5 million students.

The UK is currently experiencing a wave of industrial action due to a bitter cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation.

Source: Anadolu Agency