UK Sees Greatest Number of Strikes Since 2011 in October

The UK — hit by widespread industrial action this year as workers walk out over pay and conditions — recorded a total of 417k working days lost due to labor disputes in October, the highest figure since November 2011.

UK Sees Greatest Number of Strikes Since 2011 in October
Image credit: Getty Images [via BBC News]

Facts

  • The UK — hit by widespread industrial action this year as workers walk out over pay and conditions — recorded a total of 417k working days lost due to labor disputes in October, the highest figure since November 2011.
  • Workers across a range of sectors have gone on strike in recent months — including rail workers, teachers, postal staff, and lawyers — as inflation, which hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October, continues to squeeze household budgets.
  • This is expected to continue as approximately 100K members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are set to walk out across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland on Dec. 15 in the first of two days of strikes this month to protest poor pay and working conditions. They plan to walk out again on Dec. 20.
  • Earlier this year, the government offered a pay rise of 4.3% for nurses, but it was rejected by the RCN, which is demanding a 19% increase — a 5% uplift on inflation of 14%, as measured by October’s retail price index.
  • Meanwhile, a four-day railway strike began on Tuesday, which is expected to leave Britons faced with travel disruptions into Sunday. There will also be another major disruption of the railway system in the first week of 2023.
  • Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden said that the government “cannot eliminate” the risk of a wave of strikes this month. While Downing Street has said that the £28B cost of granting an 11% salary increase in parallel with inflation would be “unaffordable.”

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, CNN, 12ft, and Metro.

Narratives

  • Right narrative, as provided by Spectator. What the UK requires is the firm hand of government to smack down the strikers. Instead of feebly expressing its disappointment, the current administration must take a page out of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher's book by declaring a state of emergency and outlawing strike action in public services. Failure to do so will result in a paralyzed nation, not only disrupting the Christmas festivities but also endangering peoples’ lives.
  • Left narrative, as provided by Tribune. The strikers represent the only resistance to a never-ending assault on pay, public services, and the health and safety of the masses. The NHS has seen a mass exodus due to privatization, terrible pay, and ever-worsening conditions, resulting in a dangerous deterioration in its quality of care. Meanwhile, the publicly subsidized rail network system has become prohibitively expensive and will become increasingly unsafe due to staff cuts. If the ruling class and their stooges in government get their way, everyone will lose.

Predictions