UK Teachers Strikes on the Rise – 70’s all over again

UK Teachers Strikes on the Rise – 70’s all over again

As well as rail workers, other professions of the UK public sector are considering industrial action, but plans vary, and much of the disquiet has been building for some time. Teachers, for example, have been protesting against pay and conditions for several months. Barristers, meanwhile, are planning to walk out over legal aid cuts. And university staff are in dispute over pensions.

So what is driving this apparent wave of discontent? In part, it is the legacy of years of austerity. Teachers, for example, feel they have borne the brunt of spending cuts, with pay stagnating while workloads have increased. Similarly, barristers say they have seen their incomes erode due to changes to legal aid – UK Teachers Strikes are inevitable.

But it is also about more than just money. They, in particular, are angry about the government’s plans to introduce new contracts that they say will erode their working conditions. And university staff are concerned about the future of pensions.

UK Teachers Strikes on the Rise - 70's all over againIn addition to rail workers, other professions are considering industrial action, but plans vary, and much of the disquiet has been building for some time. teachers, for example, have been protesting against pay and conditions for several months. Barristers, meanwhile, are planning to walk out over legal aid cuts. And university staff are in dispute over pensions.

So what is driving this apparent wave of discontent? In part, it is the legacy of years of austerity. NHS workers, for example, feel they have borne the brunt of spending cuts, with pay stagnating while workloads have increased. Similarly, barristers say they have seen their incomes erode due to changes to legal aid.

But it is also about more than just money. they are angry about the government’s plans to introduce new contracts that they say will erode their working conditions. And university staff are concerned about the future of pensions.

The NHS dispute centres on the government’s decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors. The agreement will mean longer hours and less pay for some doctors, although the government says it will also lead to higher basic salaries. The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents doctors, has said the changes are “unsafe and unfair” and has called for them to be withdrawn.

The row over pensions is also long-running. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are concerned about changes to the pension scheme that they say could leave them up to £10,000 a year worse off in retirement. The UK Teachers Strikes organisers have said it is prepared to take “industrial action up to and including strikes”.

The dispute over legal aid cuts is more recent. The government has been trying to cut the cost of criminal defence lawyers by changing how they are paid. But this has led to an exodus of lawyers from the profession, as many say they cannot make a living on the new rates.

The government says it is necessary to make savings to protect the overall legal aid budget. But defence lawyers argue that the changes will lead to fewer people being able to get representation, putting them at a disadvantage in court.

The Ministry of Justice says it is “disappointed” that the barristers’ union, the Criminal Bar Association, has voted to take industrial action. But it says it is “open to talking” about ways to address concerns.

So far, no dates have been set for any planned industrial actions. But with teachers, rail workers and now barristers voting in favour of strikes, the summer could see a wave of unrest across the country.

So while there may be some similarities between the current situation and the UK Teachers Strikes of the 1970s, there are also important differences. But one thing is clear: if UK Teachers Strikes do go ahead, they will likely cause significant disruption to people’s lives.