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Thousands of mail workers, lecturers, teachers in UK go on strike

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: People, working at universities, gather to protest against payments and pensions as more than 70,000 university staff are on strike in the UK over salary and benefits in London, United Kingdom on November 30, 2022. (Raşid Necati Aslım - Anadolu Agency)
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Dec 01, 2022 - 02:07 AM

LONDON (AA) – Thousands of British university lecturers, Royal Mail workers and sixth-form college staff walked out Wednesday over salary disputes, pensions and working conditions.

The latest developments came after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned of a “challenging” winter ahead while noting that the army is on standby to fill roles if National Health Service (NHS) employees decide to walk off the job, Sky News reported.

In what is considered one of the biggest walkouts the country has ever seen, more than 70,000 employees from 150 universities gathered Wednesday at the King’s Cross railway station in London on the last day of a strike that started on Nov. 25 and marched to the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association.

Hundreds of thousands of workers across many sectors including nurses, rail workers and ambulance staff are also planning to go on strike in December and January.

The Royal College of Nursing has confirmed strikes on Dec. 15 and Dec. 20.

Ambulance staff are also planning to strike before Christmas.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU), which represents Royal Mail staff, said in a statement that its members will be in London next Friday for the “biggest strike demonstration this country has ever seen” and that strikes will continue throughout next month, including on Christmas Eve.

Royal Mail has warned that the postal strikes will “hold Christmas to ransom” for their customers.

According to local media, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 14 train operators are preparing four 48-hour strikes in December and January.

Around 100,000 civil service members are also set to walk out in December and January.

More than 100 Eurostar staff are also planning a four-day strike in December.

According to Sky News, recent balloting showed huge support for industrial action.

“Members take strike action with great reluctance, but the effects of real-terms pay losses are simply too urgent for them to endure the situation any longer,” Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), was quoted by the broadcaster as saying.

“These cuts are driving an exodus from the profession.”

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