Mass strike wave sweeps Britain immediately after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral
Alastair Grant / AP

LONDON—Waves of strike action are to sweep across Britain as tens of thousands of workers unleash their strength following 10 days of restraint in the period before the Queen’s funeral today.

More than 500 Liverpool dockworkers will be the first in action on Monday night as they strike for two weeks over pay.

In Felixstowe, 1,900 other dockworkers who were already involved in strike action will strike for eight days on Sept. 27. But on Friday this week, they will be in Liverpool to show solidarity with their comrades there.

On Oct. 1, more than 170,000 workers will be out as the Communications Workers Union and rail unions RMT, Aslef, and TSSA take action together, paralyzing the rail network and postal services.

Lawyers, garbage collectors, airport workers, college lecturers, and cleaners have also dates set for strike action.

Liverpool’s dockworkers, who are members of Unite, have rejected a 7% pay increase as inflation continues to hover around 10%, describing the dock owners’ proposal as “a pay cut dressed up as a rise.”

Mersey Docks and Harbour Company is owned by Peel Ports, one of five companies which own Britain’s ports. Unite said that the Liverpool operators made £30 million ($34.3 million USD) in profits last year.

The company shut down Liverpool docks for Monday’s funeral, but plans to reopen at 7pm in the evening. Pickets are planned, with a big turnout Tuesday morning.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are also to take 10 days of strike action at 26 education colleges this month and in October.

And strike dates are to be announced by general union GMB after refuse workers voted overwhelmingly for action at Waltham Forest in London.

NHS nurses with the Royal College of Nursing will begin voting on strike action on Oct. 6, and more than 30,000 firefighters will vote next month on strike action over pay.

Secretary of Sheffield Trade Union Council Martin Mayer said: “Trades councils around the country are gearing up to support workers taking strike action—and working hard to support more workers to join a union and fight back.

“Politics didn’t stand still for the government during this period: Bankers’ bonuses are to be allowed to let rip once more, a smack in the face to millions of workers who face extreme hardship this winter as record inflation is not matched by pay rises.

“We have no illusions either that the fightback will be easy. The new prime minister, big business, and the mainstream media will be determined to crush this renewed self-confidence across the unionized working class.

“That’s why we need to show solidarity with those fighting back and encourage thousands more to join them. The old maxim is as true today as it ever was: ‘The workers united will never be defeated!’”

The Labour Party will stage its annual conference in Liverpool from Sept. 25 to 28, while the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham will be hit by rail strikes on its first and final days, Oct. 1 and 5.

A statement from national campaign group Momentum said: “Whether it’s posties [postal workers], rail staff, or nurses, working people shouldn’t pay the price for this Tory cost-of-living crisis.

“At Labour conference, members and trade unions can come together to stand with striking workers and an inflation-proof pay rise.”

Morning Star


Peter Lazenby
Peter Lazenby

From Leeds, journalist Peter Lazenby is the Northern Reporter at Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Britain, and is active with the National Union of Journalists.