Teachers, rail workers, boarder workers and civil servants are all taking part in industrial action to protest pay and working conditions as unions say talks on concluding strikes are “going backwards”. It comes as firefighters have voted to strike for the first time since 2003 after real-term earnings “dropped by 12 percent”, accusing Sunak of “misjudging” the public mood.
General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, Matt Wrack said: “The responsibility for any disruption to services lies squarely with fire service employers and government ministers.
“Rishi Sunak’s government has refused to make funding available for a decent pay offer to firefighters and control staff.
“The Prime Minister has badly misjudged the public mood by imposing pay cuts on key workers.”
Government sources have admitted behind closed doors that hopes to end the strike action have faded.
Rishi Sunak and his ministers have been accused of “hoodwinking the public” and halting any progress in securing an agreement with the NHS and rail unions.
Aslef’s assistant general secretary Simon Weller told The Guardian: “Unfortunately things have gone backwards by some measure.”
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton added that ministers are “fobbing off the public” by acting as though they are working towards a resolution.
“There are no pay talks, and the Prime Minister must stop trying to hoodwink the public,” she said.
Rather than focusing on finding a solution to the strikes which the Government has admitted is “very difficult” for the public, ministers have instead accused striking workers of further damaging the economy and ruining Britain’s plan for growth.
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Meanwhile, Mary Bousted NEU joint general secretary, accused the government of failing to “understand the role of unions”.
She added: “It does not understand that at the end of the day they will have to negotiate. At the moment they are not coming forward with an offer.
“We have 27 days until the next day of strike action. We are committed to use that time to negotiate a resolution to this dispute.
“We ask the government to show the same commitment.”
It is expected that the day of severe disruption will also see a number of protests being held up and down the nation against the Government’s plans to implement a new law on minimum service levels during strikes.