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UK strikes 2023: London Underground drivers and civil servants to walk out in March

The strikes will add to the tens of thousands of workers who have walked out during the winter.

These include rail workers, university staff, nurses, teachers, bus drivers, and security guards.

Driving examiners and Ofsted staff have also recently confirmed they will stage fresh strikes on various dates next month.

So why are London Underground drivers and civil servants planning to follow suit and strike on the day Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce his spring budget?

Why will London Underground drivers be striking?

London Underground drivers are to strike due to ongoing disputes over pensions and working arrangements.

The 24-hour strike was confirmed by the train drivers’ union Aslef on Wednesday (February 22).

Aslef said Tube train drivers voted by 99 per cent, on a turnout of 77 per cent, in favour of a strike.

Alongside drivers, test train and engineering train drivers, including those in management, will walk out.

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s full-time organiser on the Underground, said: “The size of these ‘yes’ votes and the large turnouts show that our members are not prepared to put up any longer with the threats to their working conditions and pensions. We understand that [Transport for London] TfL faces financial challenges, post-pandemic, but our members are simply not prepared to pay the price for the Government’s failure to properly fund London’s public transport system.”

Rail workers’ strikes have been ongoing for months, leaving many people unable to get to work and significantly affecting businesses.

Unions are in conflict with the Government and rail companies over wages, job losses, and term and condition modifications.

They say any compensation offer should take the rising cost of living into account — with inflation now more than 10 per cent.

But, due to the pandemic’s financial impact, the rail sector is under pressure to make savings. Bosses say reforms need to be agreed, to afford pay increases and modernise the railway.

A quiet Waterloo Underground Station during a strike in November

/ Jeremy Selwyn

Which civil servants will be striking and why?

Civil servants at 123 Government departments and agencies will also strike on March 15. This will be in an effort to exert “significant pressure” on the Government, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union announced.

About 100,000 officials in the PCS union will walk out.

They went on strike in December and on February 1, due to ongoing disputes over pay and conditions.

PCS members in the Border Force and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVLA) are among those who have already been on strike.

More than 1,600 DVLA staff will stage a series of walkouts across England, Scotland, and Wales between and March 6 and 28. These will overlap with strikes at Ofsted between March 6 and 19.

The PCS union is calling for a 10 per cent pay rise, which must include better pension conditions, no cuts to redundancy terms, and better job security.

Mark Serworka, the union’s general secretary, said officials were “suffering a completely unacceptable decline in their pay”.

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