Train strikes today – live: ‘Public services in crisis’ as bus drivers join rail workers in nation-wide walkout

Related: Mick Lynch says government is ‘doing nothing’ about £2bn cuts to railway system

The new general secretary of the TUC has sought an urgent meeting with the prime minister as industrial action sweeps the nation.

Around half of Britain’s railway lines are closed and only a fifth of services are running as tens of thousands of workers at Network Rail and train operators walk out on the second day of the strike with bus drivers joining them.

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Paul Nowak called for a change in government direction and said public services were in crisis after years of “underfunding and understaffing.”

“We can’t solve these problems without a fair deal for the people on the frontline,” he wrote.

Transport for London has revealed that bus strikes will take place today and tomorrow on Abellio bus services.

There will still be buses available on the affected routes in south and west London, but not in their usual numbers.

Meanwhile, industrial action by the UK-wide National Highways and Rural Payments Agency staff will continue.

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Border Force strikes could be extended to Port of Dover within weeks

Border Force strikes could be extended to Dover and other ports within weeks, under plans discussed by a union to intensify walkouts in an ongoing dispute over pay, pensions and job security.

Those strikes saw more than 1,000 Home Office employees walk out of their passport control roles across six airports, including Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick – prompting ministers to call in the military in an attempt to plug the resulting gaps.

Namita Singh4 January 2023 05:50

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Every rail strike date confirmed for January 2023

ASLEF, which represents 96 per cent of train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales, announced that workers with 15 companies, including Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway and Great Western Railway, had voted for the strike.

Read more in this report from my colleague Joe Sommerlad:

Namita Singh4 January 2023 05:30

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Strikes and industrial actions to look out for today

  • The DVSA driving examiners’ strike starts in London, the South East, South Wales and the South West
  • Traffic officer service workers at National Highways will continue their walkout
  • The RMT rail workers’ strike continues
  • UK-wide National Highways strike continues
  • RPA staff will continue their walkout
  • London bus workers at Abellio to go on strike

Namita Singh4 January 2023 05:11

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What did TUC secretary say in letter to PM

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Paul Nowak called for a change in government direction and said public services were in crisis after years of “underfunding and understaffing.”

“We can’t solve these problems without a fair deal for the people on the frontline.

“Every month experienced employees are quitting, with one in three public service staff now taking steps to leave their professions or actively considering it.

“This is simply unsustainable.

“But we cannot fix the staffing crisis in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere if we do not fix the underlying causes.

“That means talking in an open and constructive way about improving public sector pay. But so far your ministers have refused to negotiate directly about pay with unions.”

Commuters on their way to work cross London Bridge in central London on 3 January 2023

(AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Nowak said unions worked closely with Mr Sunak during the pandemic to deliver the furlough scheme and protect millions of jobs, adding:

“That’s the kind of mature approach we need now.

“Unions have already made clear their willingness to sit down with the Government and talk about boosting pay. But while your ministers continue to refuse point blank to discuss improving wages, there can be no resolution.

“In the NHS, for example, appropriate structures already exist to allow the immediate start of pay negotiations involving health unions, employers and ministers. This was exactly what happened in 2018, leading to the three-year wage deal.

“We want to find a resolution to the current disputes so our public service staff can get on with doing the jobs they love. And so our public services can start to improve for everyone who relies on them.”

Namita Singh4 January 2023 04:38

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New TUC boss calls for urgent meeting with prime minister

The new general secretary of the TUC has called for an urgent meeting with the prime minister in a bid to break the deadlocked industrial disputes sweeping across the country.

Paul Nowak called for a change in government direction, saying ministers should open pay negotiations with unions.

It comes as rail workers continue a 48 hour strike, with more stoppages planned this month in the transport industry, NHS and civil service.

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Mr Nowak said public services were in crisis after years of “underfunding and understaffing.”

Read the details in this report:

Namita Singh4 January 2023 04:09

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I marched for the miners in the 1980s – we have to do what is right

When I marched for the miners’ strike in the 1980s, it was accepted wisdom that you needed to bring down corrupt or abusive or unfair systems and fight for what was right.

It wasn’t until this past year watching Musk, Johnson, Trump, King Charles, Truss, Clarkson (who is not out of the woods, however much cover The Sun give him) etc that it occurred to me that, if you are patient enough and prepared to witness massive collateral damage and waste of resources and unnecessary heartache, worsening socio-economic inequality and the debasement of living conditions for the most vulnerable – “they” implode…

Eleanor Sly4 January 2023 03:30

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What does Britain really think about the strikes?

Rishi Sunak has been warned that his “high risk” strategy on public sector pay rises could backfire, as an exclusive poll for The Independent showed strong public support for fresh strikes in 2023.

Almost two in three voters would back NHS nurses taking more strike action next year if their pay demands are not met, the Savanta poll found, with only 24 per cent opposed.

In addition, more voters expressed support for fresh industrial action by rail staff, bus drivers, postal workers and teachers than those who said they were opposed to further strikes.

What does Britain really think about the strikes?

As unions and government continue their stand-off, voters are still backing the workers who have chosen to walk out, polling finds – and they support more strikes in the new year, Adam Forrest reports

Eleanor Sly4 January 2023 02:48

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As strikes look set to continue, 2023 could be a good year for the unions

After decades when it was – sadly – usually safe to ignore the pronouncements of union leaders, the most widespread outbreak of industrial action since 1979 has meant that they are household names once again.

Not yet as familiar as, say, Mick Lynch, is the brand new general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Paul Nowak, who formally takes over from Frances (now Baroness) O’Grady on 1 January. He is, though, making a somewhat loud entrance.

He told The Independent that the strikes could carry on throughout 2023 if the government refuses to negotiate over pay rises. If we take ministers at their word, that they won’t do so until at least the new public pay body recommendations arrive in April, then the country is in for a prolonged period of conflict.

Eleanor Sly4 January 2023 01:48

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I’m a nurse – this is why I voted to strike

Ever since I was a young child, I dreamt of being a nurse that worked for the NHS. Twelve years ago, after lots of hard work and determination, I achieved that goal. There were lots of sacrifices from my family, who supported me throughout my course.

I currently work as a deputy sister in an NHS hospital in Lincolnshire.

My role is as part of an acute cardiology team that has face to face contact with patients that attend the hospital after having heart attacks and following cardiac arrests.

Eleanor Sly4 January 2023 00:48

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What will the coming weeks’ strikes be like?

The DVSA strike continues in London, the South East, South Wales and the South West.

RPA staff to continue their walkout.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union will stage a national strike in primary schools, special schools and early years sites.

The DVSA strike continues in London, the South East, South Wales and the South West.

RPA staff to continue their walkout.

London bus workers at Abellio to go on strike.

Unison members working for five ambulance services in England will stage a fresh walkout.

The GMB union, also representing ambulance staff, has scheduled further strike action for this date.

EIS, joined by the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, will stage another national strike in secondary schools and secondary special schools.

RPA staff will continue their walkout.

Workers on London’s Elizabeth line will go on strike.

London bus workers at Abellio will also stage industrial action.

RPA staff will continue their walkout.

RPA staff to continue their walkout.

EIS to stage a national strike for 16 consecutive days until February 2, which will see members in two local authorities strike each day.

London bus workers at Abellio will go on strike.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members in England will strike.

London bus workers at Abellio will go on strike.

RCN members in England will continue their strike.

Unison members working for five ambulance services in England will stage another walkout.

London bus workers at Abellio will go on strike.

London bus workers at Abellio will continue strike.

Eleanor Sly3 January 2023 23:34

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