Planes, trains and postal services hit by pre-Christmas strikes

Planes, trains, driving lessons and postal deliveries are expected to be disrupted by strikes in the days leading up to Christmas.

Thousands of Border Force, National Highways, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Royal Mail workers are due to take industrial action on Friday.

As these workers continue their strike until Saturday, staff represented by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), bus workers at Abellio London and employees of the environment will also launch separate waves of action.

Strikes are expected to further disrupt travel in the days leading up to Christmas (James Manning/PA)

It follows a two-day strike by NHS staff, as thousands of nurses walked out on Tuesday and paramedics joined the picket line on Wednesday.

More than 250,000 passengers arriving at UK airports on Friday have been warned to expect delays due to strikes by around 1,000 Border Force staff members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union.

The walkout will affect travelers from Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester airports, as well as the port of Newhaven in East Sussex.

It comes during the busiest Christmas for airports since 2019, as the first festive period without coronavirus travel restrictions since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, National Highway workers in London and the South East, also represented by the PCS, will continue their four-day walkout which began on Thursday.

industrial strike

Members of the Royal College of Nursing went on strike earlier this week (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The workers, who plan, design, build, operate and maintain the roads, follow the action of their colleagues in Yorkshire & Humber, in the North West and North East of England.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said they plan to “step up” the action before Christmas and that this is “likely to inconvenience travellers”.

Postal workers and women represented by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) are also to stand down for their December fifth day action, in a move Royal Mail has slammed as ‘a cynical attempt to hold Christmas to ransom’.

The company said it would do all it could to deliver Christmas mail, revealing the industrial action had cost it £100million.

RMT railway workers will stage another strike from 6pm on Christmas Eve which could prevent people from returning home for Christmas.

industrial strike

Unionized paramedics announced a second wave of strikes in January (James Manning/PA)

After Christmas, strike dates were set until January 26, with industrial action taking place daily until January 13, according to the schedule.

Paramedics represented by Unison have become the latest to announce a new strike in England, with members due out on January 11 and 23.

The strike will affect London, Yorkshire, the North West, North East and South West and will affect all paramedics, not just the 999 response teams as was the case on Wednesday.

Unison said the new strikes resulted from the government’s “repeated refusal” to negotiate improvements to NHS pay this year.

NHS Trust leaders have warned that Christmas could be one of the darkest yet for the health service as strikes threaten to worsen an “already deeply difficult situation”.

Figures from last week show one in four ambulance patients in England waited over an hour to be handed over to A&E teams in hospitals.

New data also suggests that the number of hospital patients with flu in England has “skyrocketed” and that strep A is driving “near record” demand for NHS 111 services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *