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Barristers to vote on total walkout as unions step up strike war

Barristers have walked out in industrial action at courts around the country (PA Wire)
Barristers have walked out in industrial action at courts around the country (PA Wire)

Barristers are set to vote on escalating their strike action from September in the bitter Legal Aid stand-off with the Government that is crippling the criminal justice system.

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) last night announced a fresh ballot of members to consider an uninterrupted walkout across crown courts in England and Wales from September 5. Barristers are currently striking on alternate weeks in protest at the Government’s stance on Legal Aid, demanding a 25 per cent increase in fees.

The escalation threat comes after justice minister Sarah Dines refused to budge on the Government’s offer of a 15 per cent increase and insisted that new fees could not be applied to the existing backlog of 58,000 cases.

She told the CBA: “The only outcome of the ongoing action is delayed justice and further distress for more victims.”

The Government is facing a wave of strikes including the latest walkout of drivers at nine rail companies on Saturday, and nurses are threatening an autumn strike after a pay offer was branded a “national disgrace” by the Royal College of Nursing.