Home Business News Government slammed as strikes hit the worst level in more than 30 years

Government slammed as strikes hit the worst level in more than 30 years

by LLB political Reporter
19th Jun 23 10:51 am

Union leaders slam the government as they are “completely to blame” for the continuous industrial action across the UK.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures in the 11 months to April, shows that there was around 3.7 million working days lost as a result of strike action.

One union official said that the government believed the “strikes would be blown away in a few weeks” and that the “public would turn” against the unions.

On June 21 last year members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) started their first strike action over pay, conditions and jobs.

Mick Lynch, of the RMT union, said the rail strikes have gone on for so long as the Government decided to “dig in” at the start of the industrial action.

Lynch added, “They thought the strikes would be blown away in a few weeks, the public would turn against us and they told the train companies they would be indemnified against any losses during industrial action.

“The then transport secretary Grant Shapps was highly regarded at that stage. He said he was going to get thousands of agency workers to cover for those on strike and ban overtime – but it all backfired.”

Peter Turnbull, professor of management and industrial relations at the University of Bristol Business School, said: “This first anniversary marks an important milestone in the UK’s contemporary industrial relations history.

“More than three-quarters of the days lost came from transport, storage, information and communications, but daily life has also been affected by strikes in our schools and universities, the NHS, and Civil Service.

“After the longest period of falling real wages since records began, pay has understandably dominated the headlines, but the causes of these ongoing disputes run much deeper after years of austerity, consequent work intensification and falling standards of service provision.

“All strikes are eventually ‘settled’, but workers will remain unsettled by this prolonged period of industrial action for years to come.”

Mark Serwotka, of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), said: “There is no doubt that the Government is completely to blame, fuelled by an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis in which workers have been squeezed like never before.

“Ministers have been appalling. They assumed there would not be the stomach for a fight, but they made a catastrophic mistake.

“The Government has now made concessions to Civil Service unions, but only after months of action, ranging from national strikes, to targeted action in departments or areas such as the Border Force.”

Gary Smith, of the GMB, said: “For millions – NHS workers, carers, retail staff and so many more – this brutal cost-of-living crisis has become a permanent nightmare.

“Strikes are happening because working people have simply had enough of this relentless attack on their living standards.

“Bosses everywhere must start listening to the real problems being faced and deliver pay rises that stop their employees from continually getting poorer.”

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