Health and central government strikes continue


The government has initiated pay talks with the RCN nursing union in England which has suspended strike action for the time being. However, the government has not engaged with other health unions that are currently involved in industrial action. Members of the UNISON trade union across the ambulance service and other parts of the health service are taking action on 8 March, including several workplaces where a re-ballot of members delivered the required majority for strike action. Health workers have also been taking action in Northern Ireland. Ambulance workers represented by the GMB union took strike action on 20 February while members of Unite in Wales are planning two further days of action on 6 and 10 March and the union’s membership in England has also been involved in action. The pressure on the government will be further increased following the vote by junior doctors in the BMA trade union to walk out on 13-15 March. The campaign of industrial action for higher pay in central government that started at the end of last year continues to gain momentum with more workplaces securing the necessary majority to take strike action. Along with targeted action, the PCS organised a national strike on 1 March and the second day of national action should be even bigger and set for 15 March when the government announces its budget. Members of the Prospect trade union will also be on strike that day and will begin a campaign of action short of a strike the following day. Meanwhile, strikes in further education and universities, involving non-teaching staff represented by UNISON, Unite and GMB, have been called off to allow for further negotiations.

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