Strikes have increased across England and Wales this winter. But do you know why? The reasons can be almost limited to three reasons: pay, working conditions/job loss and political choices.

The various unions asked their members to vote on whether to strike or not, and if more than 50% of the vote said they wanted to strike, they would strike. Some striking examples of union strikes: On February 1st, many different universities, schools and railway lines agreed to go on strike. Whitehall (government agencies) also agreed to strike on that day, but this ties into the previous question, why?

“Nurses are on strike for many reasons. The pay is one. With the cost of living crisis and inflation, we’ve had real-time pay cuts. We can’t hire. We can’t keep staff. McDonald’s starting salary is £12 an hour. Nurse worth £13. Nursing is stressful but very rewarding, but it’s getting harder and harder with constant cuts and funding problems. People are choosing easier jobs where the pay doesn’t vary much.” Emma Jordan, Senior Cardiac Nurse.

This argument can be linked to three reasons why strikes occur. First is wages – people’s wages have either decreased or increased, but not enough to keep up with the inflation of the time. Schools are a prime example of this because although the government has increased their pay, this extra money has come directly from money already allocated to schools, meaning less money can go to students and equipment. The next factor could be working conditions/job loss. People are fighting to protect their jobs, an example of this is the railway lines. They are striking over job losses and further worsening conditions. Finally, it’s a political choice, as many feel it’s unfair that the government will thank the NHS and other key workers by giving them a round of applause, but refuse a fair pay rise. These are not the only reasons people go on strike, as people are entitled to their own opinions about such things, but these are the most common reasons. Now you know who and why, will you strike?

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