Strike action has become an ever-present part of life in the UK since last summer, with key services from railways and schools to the NHS experiencing significant disruption.
Unions have been fighting for better pay and conditions for their members, with the country remaining in the grip of a cost of living crisis.
Train strikes will return in December after a rare month off in November, and there are bus strikes in London. Meanwhile, nurses are threatening further action after being angered at doctors receiving a double-digit pay offer.
When are the train strikes?
The six-day walkout, organised by the train drivers’ union Aslef, will affect different operators on different days. Drivers will strike over six days from 2-8 December, with 16 operators affected:
- Saturday 2 December – East Midlands Railway, LNER
- Sunday 3 December – Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, West Midlands Trains
- Tuesday 5 December – C2C, Greater Anglia
- Wednesday 6 December – Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, SWR main line, SWR depot drivers, Island Line
- Thursday 7 December – CrossCountry, GWR
- Friday 8 December – Northern, TPT
Drivers will also refuse to work overtime from 1-9 December.
National Rail said: “On the days where full strike action is taking place this is likely to result in little or no services across large areas of the network operated by the affected train companies.
“Services are also likely to be disrupted and start later on the day immediately following a full strike day. Passengers are warned to expect significant disruption and advised to plan ahead and check before you travel.”
You can check any planned journeys using National Rail’s journey planner here.
When are the bus strikes?
London bus drivers will strike across eight routes over four days in December, after two days of action in November.
The action involves more than 350 drivers working at London Transit, owned by French company RATP, and will mostly affect services in west London on the following dates:
- Friday 1 December
- Monday 4 December
- Friday 22 December
- Saturday 23 December
The following routes will be affected by the action:
- 13 – North Finchley to/from Victoria Station
- 23 – Great Western Road to/from Aldwych
- 28 – Wandsworth to/from Harlesden
- 218 – Hammersmith to/from North Acton
- 295 – Ladbroke Grove to/from Clapham Junction
- 414 – Putney Bridge to/from Marble Arch
- 452 – Ladbroke Grove to/from Vauxhall
- N28 – Wandsworth to/from Camden
Transport for London (TfL) said that from approximately 5am on strike days little or no service is expected on the affected routes, including night services. A normal service is expected to resume after approximately 6am on days following strike action.
“If travelling on these days, you should plan ahead, check before you travel, consider alternative routes and allow more time for your journey,” TfL added. You can plan a journey ahead of time using the TfL journey planner here.
Will there be more NHS strikes?
Nurses in England could return to the picket lines after reacting angrily to the news the Government has offered consultants a pay rise of up to 13 per cent.
Consultants are some of the highest paid NHS staff with a starting salary of just under £94,000 rising to more than £126,000. They went on strike alongside junior doctors this year after being awarded a 6 per cent pay rise.
The increase will not be paid until April 2024, but consultants will receive another rise in the 2024-25 financial year, with the figure yet to be decided.
The offer will now be put to British Medical Association (BMA) members, as well as those who are part of the much smaller Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) union.
If the deal is agreed, strikes by top hospital doctors in England will end, although talks are ongoing between the Government and specialist, associate specialist and specialty doctors (SAS) plus junior doctors.
The consultants’ deal will put pressure on junior doctors to bring their industrial action action to an end and agree a deal. They have been demanding a 35.3 per cent pay rise, a much higher figure than consultants had called for.
Nurses, who had only been offered a 5 per cent pay rise this year after months of strikes, said they were “appalled” at the consultants’ deal.
Professor Nicola Ranger, the Royal College of Nursing’s chief nurse, said: “The Government has shown it has the political will to reform pay for some of the highest earners in the NHS – while our members are left with the lowest pay rise in the public sector.
“Nursing staff work closely with consultants, and we too have campaigned for years to have quicker progression through the pay scale. This would help recognise nurses’ safety-critical and life-saving skills, and yet many spend most of their career stuck on the same NHS pay band.
“It’s galling that almost 12 months since nursing staff took the unprecedented decision to strike, our pay dispute remains unresolved, and the Government continues to undervalue our profession. Today’s news will ignite our members’ fury further, making nursing strikes more likely in the future.”