UK university staff, Scottish teachers, postal workers begin walkout

Postal workers, teachers and university staff across Britain went on strike on Thursday to demand better pay, with warnings of industrial action and widespread disruption ahead of Christmas.

More than 70,000 staff at British universities, teachers across Scotland and Royal Mail postal workers have walked out amid a growing number of disputes as workers and businesses grapple with a cost-of-living crisis.

University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady said the planned three-day walkouts were “the biggest strike action in the history of higher education” over disputes over pensions, working conditions and pay.

Teachers across Scotland also began their first day of strike action in almost four decades after collective bargaining talks with the Scottish Government and COSLA (Agreement of Scottish Local Authorities) broke down.

The Educational Institute of Scotland union called its members in “every school in Scotland” on strike, with classrooms closed to students after months of negotiations failed to produce an acceptable pay deal.

A COSLA spokesman said the union needed to “recognise that these are extremely challenging financial times”.

Royal Mail postal workers across the UK also took action to launch two days of strike action, coinciding with their annual Black Friday sales.

The protracted pay dispute between the Post and Parcel Company and the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) is one of many raging across the country, including a pay dispute with rail workers who have announced planned strikes more than two months before and after the Christmas holidays. .

Union leaders are due to meet with the transport minister later on Thursday.

Senior cabinet minister Michael Gove said there needed to be effective negotiations between employers and unions.

“My first thoughts are with the people who will be affected by the strike action, people who, whether it’s disruption to Royal Mail or to transport, are finding that their daily lives are being disrupted,” he told BBC TV.

“What I want to see is for people to be able to go about their daily lives without interruption.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

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