Latest strikes: 'I'm a college professor on less than £13,000 a year': workers tell their stories (2023)

Important points
  • 500,000 people are leaving, including teachers, railway workers and civil servants - who is on strike today?
  • 'We are the working class and we are back': the unionist's rallying cry
  • Less than half of schools are fully open today
  • Strikes cost UK economy £68m in one day
  • Stories of people:"I am a university professor and earn less than £13,000 a year' |"I could put on more kilos with this cane"|"A Paycheck Away From The Homeless"
  • Increased support for unions despite widespread strikes, survey reveals
  • live report oflucia bonomibelieve in the riddle


That's it for our live strike coverage.

Thank you for following Sky News on the UK's busiest strike day in over a decade.

At least half a million people took to the streets on Wednesday, including teachers, railway workers and civil servants.

We will be in touch shortly with more cost of living updates.


2% salary offers 'slapped' officials

An official at the police station described the government's 2% salary offer to civil servants as a "slap in the face".

Anonymously, the Independent Office for Police Conduct official said: "It is important for all of us to support those who earn the lowest wages.

"If you had said 12 years ago that we would be in this state, no one would have believed you.

"That (2% offer) was the last straw that broke the camel's back.

"If you work for a smaller agency or are less visible to the public, it's easier to offer small raises than if you're something more public like a nurse or train conductor.

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"Two percent is just a slap in the face."

Meanwhile, a 34-year-old man who works for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was clear the government thought it would "just do it".

He said: "We got the lower raise from the public sector because they thought they could do it to us and we'd take it.

"I think more people are going to walk out. A lot of people who weren't union members before and who had never been on strike before are coming off the strike and being open about it."

The authorities, together with a large number of teachers and railway workers, represent thousands of the half million people who are on strike today.


Mick Lynch: 'We are the working class and we are back'

Mick Lynch told teachers 'we are the working class and we are back' during a NEU rally in Westminster today.

The RMT General Secretary was addressing thousands of striking teachers who had gathered outside Downing Street.

"Welcome to Westminster, the home of the foolish and the corrupt," he said.

"Last year, Grant Shapps, remember him? He's still here. He's lurking here in all these buildings, running the government, telling Rishi Sunak what to do and trying to banish the working class."

He added that his message was the same as it is now: Every worker needs a raise, every worker needs a fair deal.

“And our message is this, we demand and we are united. We are not divided according to who we work for. We are not made based on our creed or the color of our skin or... the part of the country we come from.

“We are the working class and we are back. We are here, we demand change, we refuse to be bought, and we will win for our people on our terms."


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According to DfE, 43% of schools in England open on the day of the strike

Less than half the schools in England were fully open when teachers went on strike on Wednesday, Department for Education data shows.

The government said it had obtained attendance data from 16,400 state-funded schools in England. This represents about 77% of the total.

The Ministry of Education said:

  • 43,9%were appreciatedwide open;
  • 42,8%Guerraopen mindmore withlimited participation;
  • 8,9%Guerraconcluded;
  • the state of4,4%Guerraunknown.


South Western Railway says outage as drivers failed to cross picket lines

South Western Railway has told passengers it intends to run a full service on its main network today, but there have been disruptions as drivers have been unable to cross the picket line.

The operator said: "Although our drivers are not on strike, some drivers are refusing to cross pickets in support of our depot drivers who are taking action today."

There may be "last minute cancellations, delays and service changes on all routes".

Analysis by train performance website found that 7.6% of services until 2 p.m. on Wednesday were canceled or delayed by more than half an hour.

The full day reading on Tuesday was 0.4%.


Sadiq Khan: 'The government has failed you every time'

The National Education Union thanked London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his "strong support" for the strikes and members.

Khan, a member of the Labor Party, said he recognized that his members "were forced to defend you and your students because this government has always failed you."

He adds that "there is no question they are being overpaid and underpaid" and that it is "wrong that our children are paying the price for more than a decade of conservative failure and incompetence."

You can read his full message of support below...

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Parents and children affected by the teachers' strike

OurCorrespondent Matt ThompsonHe was standing outside the London Enterprise Academy in the capital's east today as thousands of teachers walked out.

A woman told him that the strike had clearly affected parents and children.

She said: "I think parents and children are affected as well. Parents work so it's hard to find someone to look after the children for a certain amount of time that day."

"As a parent, I think teachers should be paid better because they do very, very hard and noble work for us."


Government must 'make concrete proposals': union leaders

(Video) Faculty Senate - May 14, 2018

The education minister must make "concrete and meaningful proposals" on teacher pay to prevent further strikes, union leaders said.

The National Education Union (NEU) estimates that around 85% of schools in England and Wales will be affected by teachers' strikes today.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, NEU Assistant General Secretaries, said: “This is not cause for celebration, but it is an indication of the level of anger among our members.

“This is a powerful statement from a determined member who has pushed the boundaries of government, which were always designed to stop strikes in the first place.

“Today we notify the Minister of Education. He has until our next strike day in England, February 28, to change his mind.

Union leaders warned: "However, rest assured that if Gillian Keegan is still unable to come up with concrete and meaningful proposals, our members will do whatever it takes to defend education, including more strikes."


How do strikes end?

Today will be remembered as the biggest strike day in a decade, with half a million workers striking in bitter disputes over wages, jobs and working conditions.

Teachers, train drivers, employees, university professors, bus drivers and security forces participate in the clashes. The government is moving forward with its controversial plans for a new minimum strike service law.

At Sky News Daily, Niall Paterson joins business correspondent Paul Kelso to examine the economic impact of the move, and political correspondent Ali Fortescue examines the pressure being brought to bear on the government.


Click here to subscribe to Sky News Daily, wherever you get your podcasts


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