Image Source: Surrey Comet
Workers who work as security on the Eurostar train service will go on strike for four days before Christmas over pay.
The protests will occur on December 16, 18, 22, and 23.
Employees of a private contractor who are part of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union voted overwhelmingly in favor of the action.
Eurostar said that if there were any service changes, it would let customers know as soon as possible.
But the union said that passengers would be “very hurt” by the strike.
After a 4-1 vote in favor of strike action, more than 100 security staff who work for the company Mitie will leave their jobs.
Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said that the security staff is “essential” to the way Eurostar works. And “it’s a shame that they don’t get paid a fair wage.”
But Mitie said that it had offered staff a 10% pay raise on Tuesday and that it was “disappointed” that RMT voted to strike.
A Mitie spokesperson said, “As always, our top priority is to make sure that excellent services are provided as usual so that passengers can continue their journeys with as little trouble as possible.”
A wave of industrial action
In recent months, there has been a wave of strikes on the UK’s railways as workers try to get better pay deals and stop job cuts and changes to working conditions.
In the coming weeks, more is going to happen.
On December 13-14, December 16-17, January 3-4, and January 6-7. The RMT called for strikes at Network Rail and 14 other train companies.
Aslef, the union for train drivers, has also gone on strike over pay, but no more strikes are planned.
Workers in other parts of the economy have also protested working conditions, pensions, and pay by going on strike or making plans to do so.
People who work for Royal Mail, the University and College Union, and airlines who work on the ground have all been on strike. At the same time, nurses and paramedics are making plans for future walkouts.
Inflation is running at more than 11% a year, which means squeezing workers because their living costs are rising faster than their wages.
Now that the cost of living has gone up, many workers want their pay to increase too.
Since last year, the Ukraine war and the Covid pandemic have caused energy and food prices to go up.
What’s going on with the strikes?
Work conditions, pensions, and pay are at the heart of the disagreements.
Prices are going up by more than 11% each year, the fastest rate in 40 years. Because of this, workers’ living costs are going up faster than their wages, which makes them worse off.
In many industries, workers belong to trade unions, representing their management needs. And negotiating their pay, jobs, and working conditions on their behalf.
When these unions can’t get a fair pay deal, members vote for or against a strike.
At its most extreme, workers refuse to do their jobs and go on strike.
Workers can also pressure their employers in less extreme ways, such as by refusing overtime. Some jobs must keep basic services up and running at all times. So, doctors and nurses won’t completely stop working because that would endanger people’s lives.
Since the pandemic, there have been more workplace strikes.
In 2019, strikes took away 19,500 days per month. The ONS says that the number was 87,600 in July 2022.