Half a million workers are set to go on strike this week due to a dispute over pay and working conditions. Teachers, train drivers, civil servants, university lecturers, bus drivers and security guards from several trade unions are set to walk out on Wednesday, February 1.
It is set to be the biggest day of industrial action in over a decade. On the same day, protests will be held across the country against the UK Government's controversial plans for a new law on minimum service levels during strike action.
Striking unions and local trades councils have organised rallies in towns and cities across the UK, including outside the HMRC building in Cardiff and on Castle Square in Swansea. According to the general secretary of TUC, Paul Nowak, Wednesday is said to be a "really important day" for workers and members of the public to show support for those taking action to defend pay, jobs and services, as well as for the right to strike.
Bus drivers and security guards will not be striking in Wales. London bus drivers, who are employed by Abellio, are expected to walk out on February 1, 2 and 3 after rejecting a second pay offer. Meanwhile, University College London security guards will also be striking on Wednesday.
Here's everything you need to know about the strike action that will be taking place in Wales, including why workers are taking strike action and how it will affect you.
Members of the National Education Union have voted to walk out in a strike over pay and conditions after rejecting a 5% pay offer from the Welsh Government, which they have described as "insulting". Unions say education is in crisis, with funding cuts and pay erosion in the last decade as well as more challenges hitting teacher recruitment and retention.
It is expected that thousands of NEU members that are teachers and support staff in Wales will be on strike in February 1. Councils across the country have admitted that they won't know the full extent of which schools will shut during this week's teachers' strike until as late as the night before or the actual morning of the walk out.
Assessing the impact is hampered by the fact that teachers do not have to tell headteachers if they intend to strike or not, councils have said. But some schools will be closed entirely to all pupils, while others will only be partially closed and a handful will remain fully open. The full details of which schools in Wales will be closing during this week's teaching strike can be found here.
Train drivers represented by Aslef and RMT unions will go on strike on Wednesday, February 1, and Friday, February 3, this week amid a long running dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions. Aslef has rejected a pay offer worth 8% over two years, with its general secretary Mick Whelan saying that the proposal came with "so many conditions attached" that it was "clearly unacceptable". Transport for Wales staff are understood not to be striking.
The strike will affect services operated by Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, London North Eastern Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Southern / Gatwick Express, South Western Railway (depot drivers only), SWR Island Line, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains..
This means that Avanti West Coast and Great Western Railway services in Wales will be operating differently to usual. Avanti West Coast has advised passengers to not attempt to travel with them on strike days as they will not be running any of their services on their routes. The days either side of the strikes will also be affected.
GWR has announced that only an "extremely reduced service" will operate on a limited number of routes on strike days, including between Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff. Although not striking, Transport for Wales has also announced that some of their services are likely to be "extremely busy" as a result of the severely-reduced timetable put in place by other operators.
More than 100,000 civil servants are set to strike on Wednesday in an escalation of action by the PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) against the UK Government. The PCS has confirmed that the one-day strike will see staff from 126 government and agencies walk out after its members voted to strike and the turnout passed the 50% threshold in the union's ballot last year.
Staff in the Senedd are among those at scores of public bodies set to go on strike in Wales over pay, pensions and jobs. Although the Senedd Commission is not in any formal negotiations with unions representing its staff, it was announced last week that the business committee had voted to reschedule Wednesday's meetings in a show of solidarity, which you can read more about here.
Key sectors across the UK will be affected by the strike, including driving test examiners, border force officials, the DWP, the Department for Transport and Ofgem. Many of the affected sectors have workers in Wales, but some departments relating uniquely to Wales such as the Senedd, Natural Resources Wales, DVLA, Audit Wales, National Library of Wales, Hefcw, boundary commission and the UK Government's Wales Office will be impacted too.
Over 70,000 university staff will strike on Wednesday 1 February in dispute with 150 universities over issues of pay, pensions and working conditions, University and College Union has confirmed. A further 17 days of strike action is due to take place over February and March.
In a meeting held on January 16 between employers and trade unions, University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) refused to move from an updated 4-5% offer made in the previous week. UCU said the offer was "not enough".
Universities that will be affected by the UCU strike includes Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Wrexham Glyndwr University. Students from these universities may see their lectures, tutorials and seminars cancelled.
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