Tens of thousands of members of the University and College Union – including lecturers, librarians and researchers – went on strike on Thursday, over pay, working conditions and pensions.
Security guards at University College London who are members of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain walked out last week in a separate action.
RMT members working for Network Rail and train operating companies announced their intention to strike over the Christmas and new year period. A separate strike by drivers who are members of Aslef is to take place on Saturday.
Last week, the health secretary promised to meet six of the largest trade unions in an effort to find a deal that would avert proposed strike action in the NHS.
Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), one of the six, have already voted to strike in December after the government insisted their demand for a 5% above-inflation pay increase this year was “not affordable”.
Strikes over pay are to go ahead around Black Friday and in the run-up to Christmas after members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) rejected Royal Mail’s offer.
Unite members working for Abellio in south and west London have walked out in the first of a series of actions across November and December.
In Scotland, tens of thousands of teachers went out on strike on Thursday, in the first nationwide schools strike since the 1980s. The action is over a long-running wage dispute and is expected to continue with further walkouts. And members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and the NASUWT in Scotland also plan to walk out in early December.
Elsewhere in the UK, the National Association of Head Teachers and the National Education Union are balloting teachers and headteachers in England and Wales, while the members of the former in Northern Ireland are also voting. And the Association of School and College Leaders has also opened its first consultative ballot, asking members if they support a formal ballot on strike action.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union union, which represents 150,000 civil servants, have voted for strike action and plan to update members on the next steps on Thursday evening.
The union’s head has threatened to take his members out on the same day as colleagues in other unions to show solidarity. Mark Serwotka suggested road officials could take action on the same day as rail workers, and Border Force officials on the same day as airport staff, to cause maximum disruption.
The Fire Brigades Union plans to begin balloting members for strike action in December, with a result expected in January, after they turned down an offer that would have represented a real-terms pay cut.