Millions of public sector workers to vote on strikes in ‘biggest industrial action since 1970s’

·2-min read

Millions of public sector workers could be taking strike action this autumn in a walk-out that has been described as the biggest since the 1970s, according to new analysis.

Rail workers, refuse collectors, Royal Mail workers and NHS staff are among those who have voted for a strike or who could be walking out.

The strike threat by unions could be as big as the disruption in the 1970s, when workers were also seeking pay rises due to soaring inflation, a special report by Sky News found.

The picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) walked out on July 27 (PA)
The picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) walked out on July 27 (PA)

Some 115,000 Royal Mail workers will walk out at the end of August and beginning of September. Members of the Communication Workers Union will walk out after talks stalled around proposed pay rises.

Are you planning to strike due to the cost of living crisis? If so email holly.bancroft@independent.co.uk

The union has demanded that Royal Mail increases wages to cover the “current cost of living”, and rejected a pay rise of “up to 5.5 percent”.

Over 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 other train operating companies will walk out on 18 and 20 August.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch called on the governent to “get serious” about providing an offer on pay “which helps deal with the cost-of-living crisis, job security for our members and provides good conditions at work”.

Members of the Communication Workers Union are expected to strike this summer (PA)
Members of the Communication Workers Union are expected to strike this summer (PA)

The Royal College of Nursing and Unite are balloting hundreds of thousands of NHS workers for industrial action after they were offered a “miserable” 4 percent pay rise. The chief executive of Bristol Royal Infirmary warned there was a “real risk” staff at the hospital could strike.

More than 1,600 London bus drivers who are members of Unite are also expected to strike on 20 August. The following day, on 21 August, workers start an eight-day strike at Felixstowe container port - the UK’s biggest.

Bin workers and street cleaners will also be striking in Edinburgh this summer, as well as street sweepers in Newham, London.

More than 6,000 court hearings have already been disrupted by criminal barrister strikes.

Defence barristers are walking out on alternate weeks, and are being balloted on a complete, indefinite strike that would start on 5 September.