As excitement is building throughout the United Kingdom in the lead up to Christmas, attention is also turning to what will be a period of mass disruption. Hundreds of thousands of workers from a number of industries are set to go on strike sometime in December with disputes over pay, jobs, pensions and conditions.
Railway staff from The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) recently confirmed additional strike dates over the festive season. Curtailing some of the last trains before Christmas, industrial action will now also take place from 6pm on December 24 (Christmas Eve) to December 27.
It joins a growing list of professions that will walk out over the course of the month and in some cases into 2023. Including NHS nurses, ambulance personnel, Royal Mail postal workers, bus drivers and many more.
Trade unions are fighting to give members a better and more supportive package as the UK continues to suffer as a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis. The inflation rate in the country now stands at a 40-year high of 11.1%.
All the strike action is sure to disrupt a number of people’s plans over Christmas, whether it be travelling home to reunite with friends and family, or getting deliveries of last-minute presents. Here is a list of all the planned strike action taking place in the UK in December 2022.
RMT members are set to go on strike on a number of occasions throughout the month and into the start of next month. Over 40,000 workers will walk out on the following dates:
- Tuesday, December 13
- Wednesday, December 14
- Friday, December 16
- Saturday, December 17
- Saturday, December 24
- Sunday, December 25
- Monday, December 26
- Tuesday, December 27
- Tuesday, January 3
- Wednesday, January 4
- Friday, January 6
- Saturday, January 7
National Rail and 14 major operators will be affected with 80% of services likely to be cancelled on strike days. There will also be a knock on effect in days following industrial action.
RMT issued an official statement which says: “The rail industry is working hard to minimise the effect that this will have on services but it is inevitable that services will be cancelled or severely disrupted. It is likely that there will be a very limited service on these days with no trains at all on some routes.”
Avanti West Coast workers are also set to walk out from December 11 to December 12. While those at East Midlands Railway will go on strike from December 23 to December 24.
To find out if your railway travel plans have been affected, National Rail will update its journey planner closer to the time.
While Aslef train drivers representing 15 companies will stage a fresh strike in at the start of January in a long-running row over pay. Though not taking place in December, rail workers will walk out on January 5.
It was announced that NHS nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will stage what is set to become the biggest strike in the history of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). As many as 100,000 members from 65 NHS organisations will walk out in December 2022.
Industrial action will take place for two days on December 15 and December 20, though it is only scheduled for 12-hour intervals. The strikes will take place from 8am to 8pm on both days.
Maternity and A&E services will be among those that will be faced with disruption on strike days. Though sick babies and infants, as well as patients undergoing cancer and dialysis treatments, are among those protected from the industrial action.
The aim is for nurses to get better pay that is five-percent above the rate of inflation. There is also discontent surrounding working conditions.
Royal Mail strikes
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) had voted for strike action and have already walked out in recent months, such as on Black Friday. Royal Mail claims that the disruption has already cost it £100 million as it continues to draw up “well-developed” contingency plans.
Royal Mail workers will continue to strike on the following days in December:
- Friday, December 9
- Sunday, December 11
- Wednesday, December 14
- Thursday, December 15
- Friday, December 23
- Saturday, December 24
It will not be delivering letters or parcels to customers at any point during days of strike action, unless they have been deemed as special deliveries. Royal Mail are said to prioritise the delivery of Covid-19 test kits and prescriptions.
People are advised to post items as early as possible, as well as to continue posting items at post boxes and post offices. Be aware that collections will be less frequent.
Unison, Unite and GMB Union have confirmed that thousands of members, such as those who are 999 call handlers and paramedics, will strike in the lead-up to Christmas. It will take place on Wednesday, December 21 and Wednesday, December 28 for the following nine ambulance service trusts:
- South West Ambulance Service
- South East Coast Ambulance Service
- North West Ambulance Service
- South Central Ambulance Service
- North East Ambulance Service
- East Midlands Ambulance Service
- West Midlands Ambulance Service
- Welsh Ambulance Service
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service
The decision of more than 10,000 workers to strike has been motivated by ambulance workers “turning to food banks” this Christmas. Members from a number of trusts will also walk out, with the union assuring the public that patients will always come first and there will be emergency cover during the strike action.
Further dates for strike action in 2023 will be confirmed in due course. It is understood that the ballot has been opened to other NHS workers in January as action to improve pay and staffing levels goes a step further.
Road worker strikes
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have voted for strike action that will take place through December and into the start of 2023. It will affect different parts of the UK at different times.
- Tuesday, December 16 - North East, North West, Yorkshire
- Wednesday, December 17 - North East, North West, Yorkshire
- Thursday, December 22 - London, South East
- Friday, December 23 - London, South East
- Saturday, December 24 - London, South East
- Friday, December 30 - West Midlands, South West
- Saturday, December 31 - West Midlands, South West
- Tuesday, January 3 - UK-wide
- Wednesday, January 4 - UK-wide
- Friday, January 6 - East Midlands, East England
- Saturday, January 7 - East Midlands, East England
Workers of bus operators Abellio and Metroline have voted for strike action that will take place across six days in December. They are as follows:
- Thursday, December 8 - Abellio
- Friday, December 9 - Abellio and Metroline
- Saturday, December 10 - Metroline
- Thursday, December 15 - Abellio
- Friday, December 16 - Abellio and Metroline
- Saturday, December 17 - Metroline
Eurostar security staff will go on strike on a number of days this month as disruption will come to any Christmas travel plans due to issues over pay. More than 100 members from management company Mitie, as well as RMT members, are taking part in the action. Members will walk out on the following dates:
- Friday, December 16
- Sunday, December 18
- Thursday, December 22
- Friday, December 23
Airport and Border Control strikes
An airport affected by strike action is Heathrow in London, England. Private contractors who employ over 350 ground handlers will walk out for 72 consecutive hours from 4am on Friday, December 16. The airport has warned that it will lead to some flight disruption, so passengers are advised to get in touch with their airline if their journey coincides with the industrial action.
There are also scheduled strikes with Border Control staff that will see walkouts from several major airports in the UK. Border force workers and members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union are disputing issues such as pay, jobs and working conditions. It will affect Glasgow, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham airports.
The strike will start on December 23 and last until New Year’s Eve on December 31. It will affect air travel as border force staff are responsible for checking passports of passengers as they leave and enter countries.
Civil servant strikes
A total of over 100,000 civil servants are set to walk out across a number of services and facilities in the UK. It is due to a dispute over pay, pensions and jobs.
The PCS has warned that the disruption will last for an entire month and into the start of the new year as they aim to “reach into every corner of public life.”
As a way to manage some of the affected areas, the army will be drafted in such as to replace Border Force workers. The union is seeking a 10% pay-rise for its members.
Exact dates for strike action have not been confirmed for all of the following Government areas affected. Visit their respective websites for more information.
- British Museum
- Cabinet Office
- Charity Commission
- Maritime & Coastguard Agency
- Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
- Natural Resources Wales
- Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service
- Independent Office for Police Conduct
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
- Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
- Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
- Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
- Audit Wales
- Department for Education
- Natural England
- Competition Service
- Gambling Commission
- Historic England
- Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
- Historic Environment Scotland
- Home Office
- Insolvency Service
- HM Land Registry
- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
- Creative Scotland
- National Galleries of Scotland
- National Museums of Scotland
- National Audit Office
- National Lottery Heritage Fund
- Department for Transport
- National Library of Wales
- National Museums Liverpool
- Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority
- Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
- Competition & Markets Authority
- Office for National Statistics & UKSA
- UK Intellectual Property Office
- Vehicle Certification Agency
- Planning Inspectorate
- National Archives
- Registers of Scotland
- Transport Focus
- Sports Grounds Safety Authority
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
- Equality & Human Rights Commission
- Scottish Enterprise
- Scottish Government
- Serious Fraud Office
- Skills Development Scotland
- The Council of the RFCAs
- Sport England
- Scotland’s Commission for Children & Young People
- RFCA West Midlands
- Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service
- Legal Aid Agency
- UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)
- Visit Scotland
- Government Legal Department
- Parole Board for England & Wales
- Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA)
- Wallace Collection
- Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament)
- Scottish Human Rights Commission
- Scottish Prison Service
- Scottish Parliament
- Student Loans Company
- Architecture & Design Scotland
- Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
- National Highways
- Westminster Foundation for Democracy
- Independent Living Fund Scotland
- Rural Payments Agency
- Defence, Science & Technology Laboratory
- Electoral Commission
- Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)
- Security Industry Authority
- UK Space Agency
- Marine Management Organisation
- Youth Justice Board
- Local Government Boundary Commission for England
- Northern Ireland Office
- Prisons & Probation Ombudsman
- Wales Office
- Courts and Tribunals Judiciary
- Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
- Children’s Commissioner for England
- Food Standards Scotland
- Crown Estate Scotland
- Risk Management Authority
- Local Democracy & Boundary Commission for Wales
- UK Debt Management Office
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)
- Social Security Scotland
- Scottish Housing Regulator
- Revenue Scotland
- Department of International Trade
- Bord na Gaidhlig
- Forestry Commission England
- Scottish Forestry
- Leasehold Advisory Service
- Forestry and Land Scotland
- UKSV (Cabinet Office)
- Disclosure and Barring Service
- Veterinary Medicines Directorate
- Institute for Apprenticeships
- Office for Students (OfS)
- Transport Scotland
- Accountant in Bankruptcy
- Disclosure Scotland
- Education Scotland
- Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator
- Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA)
- National Records of Scotland
- South of Scotland Enterprise
- Trade Remedies Authority
- UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
- Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (OHID)
Uber driver strikes
It was confirmed on December 7 that Uber drivers will go on strike in a dispute over a number of things, such as pay and conditions. So far, the only part of the UK affected by the strike, which will be on December 16, is in Bristol. It is unknown whether or not this will be expaned out to other cities across the country.