The UK is facing the biggest wave of industrial action in decades this winter as workers walkout 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 looms across services ranging from the NHS to transport, with railways, postal services, teachers, hospital staff and civil servants among the public services that will be affected.
Listed is every sector striking this winter and the dates workers will walk out. This list will be kept updated throughout the winter.
Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members have 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.
The first of a wave of 48-hour strikes in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions kicked of on Tuesday (13 December) and it is expected that only 20% of trains will run, with some parts of the country getting no services at all. The walkout comes after hopes of a major breakthrough in the dispute were after Network Railworkers rejected a fresh pay offer. The RMT said 63.6% voted to reject Network Rail’s offer on an 83% turnout.
The union has also announced further strike action from 6pm on 24 December to 6am 27 December. But with further walkouts planned, Network Rail has warned there will be significantly reduced services, with trains more crowded and likely to start later and finish earlier until 8 January. Passengers planning to travel on Christmas Eve will likely be urged to complete their journeys by the time industrial action begins.
On Friday 23 and Saturday 24 December, regional action will be taken by Unite union, affecting East Midlands Railway only and on a national level, strikes will also be happening next year on 3, 4, 6 and 7 January. There will also be an overtime ban across the railways from 18 December until 2 January.
Additionally, members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) at CrossCountry will strike on Boxing Day and 27 December. TSSA is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which addresses the rising cost of living.
The union said it believes the walkouts will severely affect services at CrossCountry, which covers large swathes of the country, from Penzance in Cornwall, to the Midlands, Wales, and northern England through to Scottish cities as far north as Aberdeen. The action replaces a strike at CrossCountry by TSSA on 17 December which has now been cancelled.
London Tube services
Currently, there are no tube strikes planned for December. A strike was planned at some Tube stations on 25 November but further action has yet to be announced.
London bus drivers have announced a series of walk-outs in the run-up to Christmas. Workers will strike on the following dates:
- Thursday 8 December (Abellio only)
- Friday 9 December (Abellio and Metroline)
- Saturday 10 December (Metroline only)
- Friday 16 December(Abellio and Metroline)
- Saturday 17 December (Metroline only)
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 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:
- Wednesday 14 December
- Thursday 15 December
- Friday 23 December
- Saturday 24 December
Royal Mail has warned customers that its last Christmas posting dates will be earlier than usual due to the ongoing strikes. The postal service said it would prioritise delivery of Covid tests and medical prescriptions. It will not deliver letters on strike days besides special delivery.
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, and members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) and the NASUWT walked out on on 7 and 8 December 2022.
National strike days will also take place on 10 January 2023 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.
More than 70,000 staff at 150 universities, including administrators, cleaners, library, security and caterers were on strike for three days. Strikes took place on Friday 25 November and Wednesday 30 November.
However, the University and College Union (UCU) said they were prepared to take “even bigger action” in the new year unless conditions improved. 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
Nurses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are to strike for two days before Christmas in their first walkout in NHS history.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced strikes on 15 and 20 December as the pay dispute raging across the NHS continues to escalate. The strikes are expected to last from 8am to 8pm. Announcements of nursing industrial action in Scotland have been paused after the government there reopened NHS pay negotiations.
Midwives have also been voting on strikes, with the postal ballot closing at midday on 12 December. A ballot of junior doctors opens in the new year.
More than 10,000 ambulance workers have voted to strike in England and Wales over NHS pay. Unite union announced members voted by up to 92% to take action. The strike will take place on 21 December, and the GMB said over nine trusts are striking. GMB members will strike at:
- South West Ambulance Service
- South East Coast Ambulance Service
- North West Ambulance Service
- South Central Ambulance Service
- North East Ambulance Service
- East Midlands Ambulance Service
- West Midlands Ambulance Service
- Welsh Ambulance Service
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Paramedics, Emergency Care Assistants, call handlers and other staff will also walk out on 28 December. In Scotland, ambulance staff walked out on 28 November.
Driving examiners and Rural Payments Agency workers begin a series of strikes by civil servants across England, Scotland and Wales on 13 December.
The members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) will be followed by those working for the National Highways, the Border Force and a number of offices in the Department for Work and Pensions in the coming weeks.
Around 100,000 PCS members working in 214 government departments and other bodies have voted for strike action over pay, pensions, jobs and redundancy terms.
Hundreds of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff will go on strike for two weeks over Christmas over pay. Over 200 Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members working for DWP officers will walk out on select dates from 19 to 31 December.
The first centers to strikes are: Doncaster back-of-house; Toxteth Jobcentre; Liverpool Duke Street Jobcentre; and Liverpool City Jobcentre.
Baggage handlers at Heathrow have voted to strike for 72 hours from 4am on 16 December over a pay dispute with 350 Menzies Aviation workers. It will likely affect flights operated by:
- Air Canada
- American Airlines
- Swiss Air
- Air Portugal
- Austrian Airlines
- Egypt Air
- Aer Lingus
In Scotland, members at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial) would walk out on 19 and 22 December in a dispute over pay, and travellers have been warned to expect disruption at 11 regional airports.
Unite said its members voted by almost 74% in favour of taking strike action and by more than 92% in favour of taking action short of strike in a bid to improve pay for rural communities amid a cost of living crisis.
Eurostar Security Staff
Over 100 members of the RMT union employed by facilities management company Mitie and working as security staff for Eurostar have voted to take action in a dispute over pay. Strikes will take place on:
- Friday 16 December
- Sunday 18 December
- Thursday 22 December
- Friday 23 December