March 17, 2023 12.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

End of the strikes? Lincolnshire teachers and NHS unions halt action

Unions hope there is light at the end of this long tunnel

By Local Democracy Reporter

Trade unions are edging closer to getting their wishes after months of strike action, as fresh pay offers are made to workers in the NHS and teaching sectors.

Trade unions have fought against what they deem to be unfair pay terms and working conditions.

In Lincolnshire, we’ve seen the rail network temporarily shut down, the military drafted in to drive ambulances, and the largest ever national university strike – but that may all soon be a thing of the past.

The National Education Union (NEU) announced on Friday they would hold no further strike dates in England for the next two weeks.

This is to allow for talks on pay, conditions and workloads to continue between teaching unions, who are asking for above-inflation wage which doesn’t come from existing school budgets.

Jill Evans (centre) and other NEU members on strike | Photo: Daniel Jaines/LDRS

Ken Rustidge, the Lincolnshire secretary for the NEU, told The Lincolnite that he welcomes the announcement, and hopes talks can move forward to create a “win-win scenario” for all in the community.

“It really is wonderful news to hear that further strikes won’t be announced,” Ken said. “On picket lines in Lincolnshire this week, we were hearing stories of teachers struggling, it’s welcomed that the government may have, at last, seen the light.

“Teachers don’t want to be on strike, but we were backed into a corner by the government. This is about far more than just pay, it is about funding for schools and for our next generation.

“Every single member wants the best for children and for the next generation. We work together and we win together, it’s great that there could now be light at the end of the tunnel.”

| Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday, as industrial action was postponed by Unite, Unison and the GMB Union thanks to a fresh pay offer by NHS England.

Thousands of NHS workers across ambulance, midwifery and nursing sectors were offered one-off bonuses of up to 8.2% in Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s most recent offer – as well as a permanent 5% pay rise from April.

Scheduled strikes on Monday, March 20 and Tuesday, March 21 have been halted as a period of consultation begins between trade unions and their members.

EMAS has stood down special arrangements made to combat staff shortages brought on by strike action, and have thanked the trade unions and staff members for their “professionalism” throughout the dispute.

 

A picket line of RMT workers outside Lincoln train station, striking over pay and job security. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite

The University and College Union announced on Wednesday that university employers had made a new offer in disputes over pay, pensions and conditions.

The offer will now be balloted between the UCU’s 70,000 members to decide whether it is accepted or not.

However, planned strike action continued throughout – affecting Lincolnshire on Friday, March 17, Monday, March 20, Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22.

Staff at the University of Lincoln striking over pay, pensions & conditions. | Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “On Wednesday, on our tenth day of strike action and after weeks of intensive negotiations, university employers have finally agreed to put forward a set of proposals on pay, conditions and pensions.

“This breakthrough is down to the strength, determination and sacrifice of university workers who have stood on picket lines.

“The proposals will now move through our union’s democratic processes, and strike action will continue until our 70,000 UCU members have had the chance to have their say.”


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