As inflation has climbed steadily throughout year, workers have seen rising prices eroding their earnings – just as employers have been trying to make savings or modernise working practices to cope with increasing costs.
Result: clashes over pay, redundancies, pensions and terms and conditions.
A new “winter of discontent” had begun even before Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on 17 November, which left householders everywhere feeling even worse off.
And with the cost of living crisis set to deepen, the disputes will inevitably grow fiercer.
These are the professions and industries for which strike dates have already been announced:
Industrial action is expected to begin before the end of this year after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced in November that nursing staff at most NHS employers in the UK had voted to strike over pay and patient safety.
The union is calling for a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation, saying that despite a pay rise earlier this year, experienced nurses were worse off by 20 per cent because of successive below-inflation awards since 2010.
It has called for detailed negotiations in the coming weeks or it will announce strike dates for December.
The RCN’s mandate to organise strikes runs until early May next year.
Services across the country will be crippled on Saturday 26 November, as members of the drivers’ union Aslef at 11 train operators will walk out in a long-running dispute over pay.
Members of the RMT union have already taken part in eight days of strike action since June, which brought much of the rail network to a standstill.
And passengers could face another six months of strikes because of disputes involving drivers and other workers.
Bosses who want to cut 1,900 jobs say the railway has not recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, is currently losing millions a day and is in desperate need of modernisation.
Some services will be severely disrupted and others will not run at all.
The strike will hit these train operators: Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Transpennine Express, and West Midlands Trains.
Some disruption is expected on the Sunday 27 November as workers return to their duties.
Meanwhile, Avanti West Coast strongly advised customers to check before they travel ahead of further strike action by RMT members working as train managers this Sunday as well as on 26 November.
A significantly reduced timetable will be in operation and services are likely to be disrupted the days before and after.
Avanti RMT union members are also due to strike on 11 and 12 December.
Christmas postal deliveries will be hit if, as planned, Royal Mail workers stage six fresh strikes next month, including on Christmas Eve, in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said its members would walk out on 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.
This is in addition to strikes already announced for Thursday and Friday – 24 and 25 November, as well as Wednesday 30 November and Thursday 1 December.
Royal Mail bosses, who have been consulting on plans to cut around 10,000 full-time jobs by August, have offered 9 per cent pay rises.
CWU Post Office members have so far staged six strikes. Around 1,500 took action in August and similar numbers are likely to walk out again next time in a dispute that’s separate from the Royal Mail one.
Staff who deliver cash and supplies to sub-post offices, process finances and work in administration have backed industrial action for more pay.
The CWU has not announced a date for fresh strikes, saying only that they are due to go ahead next year.
The union said the action was in protest at a 3 per cent pay offer for the 2022/23 financial year, alongside a one-off payment of £500.
Civil servants in the Home Office, Border Force, Department for Transport and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are due to take industrial action, affecting services ranging from passport control at ports and airports to driving tests and the issuing of driving licences.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said action will start in mid-December and continue for a month in a row over pay, jobs and pensions.
Some workers will take action for the entire month, while others will walk out for shorter periods.
The army will start training soldiers to replace Border Force officers who walk out, it has been reported.
More industrial action will be announced next month.
They are asking for a 10 per cent pay rise and guarantees on job security and redundancy terms.
Strikes by bus drivers in Sunderland are set to continue after drivers turned down a below-inflation pay deal.
The GMB union said two-thirds of its members working for Stagecoach in the city rejected an offer below the 10 per cent being demanded.
Almost 200 drivers have taken several days of strike action already.
Ground staff employed by a private contractor at Heathrow Airport began a 72-hour strike on Friday 18 November.
Around 350 members of Unite working for Menzies walked out, disrupting a number of flights.
Offshore workers went on strike for two days in mid-November in a dispute over pay.
Unite Scotland said its members on the Repsol assets joined an overtime ban and 48-hour stoppage on Wednesday 16 November and Thursday 17 November.
A further 48-hour stoppage is planned for Wednesday 30 November and Thursday 1 December.
Firefighters are due to vote on strikes after rejecting a 5 per cent pay offer that union members say is a real-terms pay cut.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will be balloted in the coming weeks on whether to stage industrial action.
If they vote in favour, it threatens the first national strike over pay since 2003.
Voting will run from 5 December to 23 January.
Workers at the Co-op’s only British coffin factory are staging two weeks of strike action.
Around 50 staff walked out of the factory in Glasgow, after Unite members voted in August to strike.
Workers rejected an offer they described as a real-terms pay cut.