The U.K.’s Labor Unrest Could Go Global

The U.K.’s Labor Unrest Could Go Global
Striking ambulance workers seen during a demonstration outside Waterloo Ambulance Station, London, Jan. 12, 2023. (Photo by Tejas Sandhu, Sipa USA, via AP Images)

This month, the U.K. is set to experience work stoppages across almost every public service. Rail workers, teachers and nurses are among the hundreds of thousands of union workers who have announced that they will go on strike, with industrial actions scheduled to take place on all but a few days in January.

Paul Nowak—the newly appointed general secretary of the Trade Unions Congress, a federation of almost 50 unions—has further warned of the possibility of a “rolling wave” of industrial action throughout 2023. This would see trade unions coordinating the timing of strikes to cause maximum disruption unless the Conservative government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak engages in “serious and sensible discussions about pay.”

Until recently, public support for those on strike—especially health workers—has remained high. A YouGov Poll taken in mid-December, for example, found that two-thirds of the British public supported the first-ever National Health Service nurses’ strike. With strikes affecting more and more facets of daily life in the U.K., however, patience is likely to start wearing thin.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.