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Winter Of Discontent: Who, what, when – a series of winter strikes

Teachers, nurses, ambulance workers, postal employees, firefighters and security personnel are among those threatening strike action

In response to stagnant pay and rising inflation, which soared to a 41-year high of 11.1% in October, workers are preparing for strikes.

Staff in the public sector are frustrated, whether it be in the classroom, our hospitals, or the railways.

Nurses

In a historic first, nurses in every health board in Scotland have decided to strike.

The majority of NHS employers in the UK’s nursing staff opted to take strike action over wages and patient safety, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) declared earlier this month.

The RCN is requesting a wage increase of 5% above inflation, claiming that experienced nurses were 20% worse off after a pay increase earlier this year as a result of a string of below-inflation awards since 2010.

After talks between the Scottish Government and the NHS unions, a salary increase of £2,205 was provided in an effort to end the conflict.

For a newly licenced nurse, that would be around an 8% increase.

John Swinney, the deputy first minister, cautioned that in terms of giving public sector employees more raises, the Scottish Government had “nowhere else to go.”

However, Unite said that the escalation was down to “the Scottish Government failing to dig deep enough”.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf is expected to meet with union bosses on Tuesday in an effort to resolve the dispute.

Teachers

Scotland’s school teachers will participate in their first national pay strike in nearly 40 years.

The largest teaching union in the nation, the Educational Institute of Scotland, rejected a 5% pay increase offer from the Scottish Government, calling it “wholly inadequate,” prompting Thursday’s protest.

On Thursday, there will also be a strike by the AHDS union, which represents some heads and deputies.

The teachers’ nationwide walkout the next week will be the first since the middle of the 1980s. To reflect the cost-of-living crisis and growing inflation, the unions are asking for a 10% salary increase.

Following a 90% vote in favour of strike action on a 62% turnout, members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) will also go on two days of targeted strike action the following month.

According to the SSTA, some members of local authorities will strike on December 7 while others will walk out on December 8.

Additionally, the EIS has disclosed two other strike dates for primary and secondary schools in January.

Postal Workers

In a protracted dispute over wages, jobs, and working conditions, Royal Mail employees will have a series of meetings on Tuesday to vote on whether they have confidence in the company’s CEO before further strikes.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has scheduled meetings where its members will be asked to cast votes on whether they trust the management of the business.

The CWU said Royal Mail Group’s senior management have presented a “take-it-or-leave-it“ proposal, which was rejected by the union’s national leadership.

CWU members will be striking on Thursday and Friday ahead of more walkouts next month.

Security Staff

Fears of shortages before Christmas have been raised as hundreds of G4S security personnel who distribute cash and coins have voted to strike in December.

The strike could affect the availability of coins and cash at shops like Tesco, Asda, and Aldi as well as banking clients like Barclays, HSBC, and Santander.

According to the GMB union, the first-ever strike at G4S will take place as a result of a 97% vote in favour of action by union members.

It said the strike is scheduled to take place from 3am on December 4.

G4S stressed that its UK cash drivers have received pay of £13.08 an hour for 2022 after a pay deal was agreed with the GMB from January.

Rail Workers

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will go on a string of 48-hour strikes at ScotRail.

Workers will now walk out on December 13–14, December 16–17, and January 3–4 and 6–7 after earlier cancelling strikes on Fridays and Saturdays.

The strike action is being participated in by more than 40,000 RMT union members working for Network Rail and 14 train operating companies.

Additionally, from December 18 through January 2, all railroad employees will be prohibited from working overtime, resulting in a four-week period of industrial action for RMT members.

On December 11 and 12, the RMT will be on strike at Avanti West Coast due to a different issue.

In the midst of an ongoing disagreement over on-call shifts, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) plans to put members of ScotRail up for a vote over a potential strike.

As part of the pay award settlement with the nationalist railway operator for the years 2021/22, according to TSSA, discussions about the nature of on-call tasks were intended to be held via a joint working group.

However, the union claimed that more than a year after the agreement, despite numerous requests, no meetings have taken place.

Conductor team managers, driver team managers, on-train team managers, and station team managers are among the TSSA members who work for ScotRail. They are located at stations throughout Scotland, including Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, Dumfries, Edinburgh Waverly, Glasgow Central and Queen Street, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Motherwell, Perth, and Stirling.

Ports, Border Force, driving tests and licences

In a disagreement over wages, jobs, and pensions, civil servants at the Home Office, Border Force, Department for Transportation, and Defra are planning to strike, which will have an impact on ports.

According to the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), the strike will begin in the middle of December and last for one month.

While some employees will strike for the full month, others will do so for shorter periods of time.

According to PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, the action will have an impact on passport check at airports, driving tests, and the issuance of driving licences.

Firefighters

Following their rejection of a 5% salary increase, firefighters will vote on strikes.

In the upcoming weeks, the Fire Brigades Union’s members will vote on whether to begin a campaign of industrial action.

First national pay strike since 2003 is possible if they vote in favor.

Voting will take place between December 5 and January 23, 2019.

Ambulance workers

On Monday, November 28, employees of Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) are scheduled to go on strike for one day.

The GMB labour union announced that the action will begin at 6am.

SAS employees are also represented by Unite, which has already declared that effective on November 25 its members will work to rule.

The precautions made, according to Unite, whose members include advanced practitioners, paramedics, planners, administrative, clerical, real-time analytics, and business intelligence, are not intended to have any influence on how emergency occurrences are handled.

The ambulance service will go on strike for the first time in decades if the GMB’s industrial action is carried out.

Union leaders have stated that during any strike action, members will be available to respond to life-threatening circumstances.

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