Explainer

Every strike taking place in UK this winter: updating list of dates from Royal Mail, RMT, NHS, and teachers

The winter of strike action will affect services ranging from the NHS, transport, Royal Mail, teachers, to civil servants

The UK is facing the biggest wave of industrial action in decades this winter as workers are set to walk out due to escalating disputes over pay, conditions and terms.

Ballots are taking place in a range of sectors while talks in some areas have come too late to avoid disruption.

The winter of strike action will loom across services ranging from the NHS to transport.Railways, postal services, teachers, hospital staff and civil servants are among the public services that will be affected.

Listed is every sector that is striking this winter and the dates workers will walk out. This list will be kept updated throughout the winter.

Railways

Nationwide rail strikes by the RMT were scheduled for the beginning of November, but the industrial action was called off at the last minute. Despite this, the union had said that the dispute remains “very much live” and it is continuing its re-ballot of members to secure a fresh mandate for action.

RMT announced that railway workers are to stage a series of 48-hour strikes in December and January. More than 40,000 members of the union across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will strike on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December, and on 3, 4, 6 and 7 January.

There will also be an overtime ban across the railways from 18 December until 2 January.

Train drivers at 12 train operating companies are still planning to strike on 26 November after the Aslef union said it was still waiting for a pay offer from the employers despite ongoing talks. The companies affected by the strike are:

  • Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • Greater Anglia
  • London North Eastern Railway
  • London Overground
  • Northern Trains 
  • Southeastern
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

London Tube services

A strike is planned at some Tube stations on 25 November. The stations that are likely to be impacted are:

  • Euston
  • Green Park
  • Heathrow Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Hatton Cross
  • Hounslow West
  • King’s Cross
  • Victoria station

Buses

London bus drivers have announced a series of walk-outs in the run-up to Christmas. Workers will strike on the following dates:

  • Friday 25 November
  • Saturday 26 November 
  • Thursday 1 December
  • Friday 2 December
  • Saturday 3 December
  • Friday 9 December 
  • Saturday 10 December 
  • Friday 16 December
  • Saturday 17 December

Members of Unite employed by Abellio in south and west London will walk out in a dispute over pay. This affects drivers based in Battersea, Beddington, Hayes, Southall, Twickenham and Walworth.

More than 200 Stagecoach bus drivers in Sunderland walked out on 5 November in a continuing dispute over pay. There will be further strikes upcoming. Stagecoach bus drivers were set to strike on the following dates:

  • Friday 23 December
  • Saturday 24 December
  • Monday 26 December
  • Tuesday 27 December

Postal service

Postal strikes in October failed to improve the 2% pay increase set out by Royal Mail. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is set to undertake industrial action again on the following dates:

  • Friday 25 November – all deliveries
  • Monday 28 November – everyone
  • Wednesday 30 November – all network
  • Thursday 1 December – all processing, area distribution, collections, and international
  • Friday 2 December – all deliveries
  • Friday 9 December
  • Sunday 11 December
  • Wednesday 14 December
  • Thursday 15 December
  • Friday 23 December 
  • Saturday 24 December

Royal Mail said it would prioritise delivery of Covid tests and medical prescriptions. It will not deliver letters on strike days besides special delivery.

Teachers

Teachers in England and Wales are inching closer to the first national dispute over pay since 2008. They have rejected a 5% pay rise and have now launched a formal ballot to strike.

Tens of thousands of Scottish teachers took strike action on 24 November after union leaders won an overwhelming mandate to intensify a long-running wage dispute. 

National strike days will also take place on 10 January for teachers in primary and special schools, as well as early years, and on 11 January for those working in secondary schools and secondary special schools.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has also announced that strike action will take place over 16 consecutive days in January and February, with teachers in two local authorities walking out each day. The action will start – unless a deal is agreed before then – on 16 January and is due to last until 6 February.

University staff

More than 70,000 staff at 150 universities, including administrators, cleaners, library, security and caterers will strike for three days, according to the University and College Union. The remaining strikes will take place on:

  • Friday 25 November
  • Wednesday 30 November

The union claims about 2.5 million students will be affected by the industrial action, which is being held over pay, conditions and pensions.

Nurses and hospital staff

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced strikes on 15 and 20 December as the pay dispute raging across the NHS continues to escalate. Announcements of nursing industrial action in Scotland have been paused after the government there reopened NHS pay negotiations.

Midwives are also currently voting on strikes, and a ballot of junior doctors opens in the new year. In Scotland, ambulance staff are due to walk out on 28 November.

Civil servants

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), representing civil servants including those who work in Whitehall and those in frontline services such as Jobcentres, announced last week that the threshold for strike action had been reached.

The walk-out could affect services ranging from passports to pensions, The Guardian reported. No date has yet been announced for strike action.