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by Louise Wilson
01 February 2023
Public sector strikes begin across UK

Public sector strikes begin across UK

Public sector workers across the UK are on strike after trade unions coordinated industrial action.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) have dubbed it the “one of the biggest displays of worker power we’ve seen in generations”.

The Scottish Parliament has been closed to the public as staff are on strike, with SNP, Green and Labour MSPs confirming they will not cross the picket line.

Government workers, teachers, university staff and transport workers are among those on strike across the UK. They are calling for improved pay and conditions.

Rallies will be held in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow, while Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn are among the speakers at an evening event in Glasgow.

 STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “The Tories have given workers the length and breadth of Scotland the clearest indication yet that they’re running scared of our ability to fight and organise for a better future. Far from dismembering our movement, the UK Government have empowered it.”

The action comes after the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill cleared the House of Commons on Monday, which trade unions have labelled “undemocratic”.

Speaking ahead of the rally, Flynn said: “The pay and conditions of workers will always be at risk under Westminster control, because Scotland is powerless to prevent workers’ rights being ripped up by the UK government… This is the latest in a long line of Westminster attacks on trade unions.”

Meanwhile, in Ipsos poll found public opinion was split over the multi-union strike action, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they supported it and 38 per cent opposing.

The poll also found fewer than one in five people felt the UK Government was doing a good job negotiating with the unions.

Confirming her party would not cross the picket line at Holyrood, Green MSP Maggie Chapman said: “With the Tories introducing a range of new and repressive anti-trade union legislation, it is more vital than ever that we stand in unity and solidarity.”

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