Massive UK Civil Servant Strike For Higher Pay

Half a million people have supported the strike this Wednesday in the United Kingdom, including teachers, university staff, civil servants and train and bus drivers, demanding better wages.

The concentration, which is already considered the largest mobilization since 2011, has not come to completely paralyze the country, but it has significantly altered the daily life of a large part of the British.

Although the country has experienced several days of strikes in recent months, this Wednesday’s was the most important due to the number of employees who support it and the variety of sectors that support it. However, for the moment, the conservative government of Rishi Sunak remains firm in its positions.

Teachers And Civil Servants, The Novelty of The Strike

If the railway employees have been on strike for months now, the great novelty this Wednesday has been brought by the incorporation into the social mobilization of school teachers in England and Wales, as well as that of 100,000 civil servants from various ministerial departments.

According to the National Education Union (NEU), some 300,000 school teachers have supported the strike. The Ministry of Education has ensured that, according to its data, one in ten centers could not open their doors, while 45% had to restrict classes.

Teachers have held a massive demonstration through the streets of central London to show their “fed up” with the loss of purchasing power suffered in recent years and aggravated by inflation, which last December stood at 10.5%.

“I have been teaching for over 15 years and we have been in austerity for most of that time. Now more than ever we must stand up for our rights. This is not just about teachers and their pay, it is about an education system that has been decimated in recent years,” the teacher Katie Pierce, a participant in the protest, confirmed to Efe. Together with her, her partner Jane Vassal has recognized that this was the first demonstration in which she participated in her life.

“The only salary alternative that the Government gives us comes from each school’s own budget, which means that if we raise the salary it will be at the expense of the money that goes to the children,” Pierce explained.

The Railway Sector Continues on Strike

The train drivers of 14 operators have returned to unemployment this Wednesday, after they seconded similar measures in recent months.

Likewise, the union Confederation has reported that they will deliver to the Government a letter signed by 200,000 members in protest against a new bill, currently in parliament, which seeks to set minimum levels of services during strikes.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak has said he hopes the protests and strikes will send a strong message to the government about the anger felt by a growing number of workers.

Sunak Maintains His Position

Despite the fact that the temperature rises in the streets, Sunak, who celebrates one hundred days as prime minister this Thursday, does not seem to compromise.

His position, as he never tires of repeating, is based on a clear foundation: if wages are raised at the rate that inflation grows, it will never go down.

In the government control session, this Wednesday in Parliament, the prime minister has argued that teachers have just been granted “the biggest raise in 30 years”, and has defended that “children deserve to be able to go to school”.

He also has not missed the opportunity to send a dart in the direction of the labor opposition, and its leader, Keir Starmer: “The opposite party would do well to say that strikes are not right and to support children going back to school.”

Sources from Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s office, have subsequently delved into that idea by recalling that “today many children cannot receive the education they need, especially considering that during the pandemic so many people lost classes.”

These same sources insisted that the Executive will continue to abide by the recommendations made by the independent body that annually establishes the salary guidelines for public employees.

In the three months prior to November, salaries in the private sector rose an average of 7.1% compared to the previous year, while in the public sector the rise remained at 3.3%.

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