The British government has announced its plans for 1,200 soldiers to replace ambulance drivers and border workers who were on strike last week by a group of public sector unions ahead of Christmas.
It is to be noted that some ambulance workers are set to go on strike next Wednesday, along with railway, nursing, passport and postal workers who will go on strike in the coming weeks.
The UK’s strongest strike wave in decades comes as a result of a cost-of-living crisis, skyrocketing food and energy prices in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis.
Strikes cost about 417,000 working days in October, the highest number in a decade.
Unions are demanding wage increases in line with inflation, which hit 10.7 percent in November, down slightly from 11.1 percent in October. The Conservative government says the double-digit increase will fuel inflation, and has tried to blame union bosses for the unrest.
The Sun reports today that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has described union bosses as “imaginary Grinch characters who want to steal Christmas for their own political ends”.
As citizens across the UK face hospital delays, train cancellations and travel delays over the winter holiday period, the government is counting on public opinion to turn against the unions.
However, opinion polls show high levels of support for workers, particularly nursing staff, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the first strike in their union’s 100-year history.
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