Who’s on strike today and how will it affect you? Daily update for March 14

The Prime Minister has slammed the ‘disruption’ caused by strike action as thousands of workers are set to walk out again today.

Junior doctors will begin their second day of action as NHS staff will head to the picket line again today.

Yesterday around 60,000 workers went on strike, and today they will also be joined by Ofsted staff and Amazon workers.

Later this week teachers, bus, train and Tube staff will also all also begin action.

Thousands of teachers will also walk out of schools on Wednesday in a bitter row over pay – affecting some seven million pupils.

London Underground services will be crippled on the same day because of a strike by members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in a row over pensions and conditions.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he does not think it right that ‘there is so much disruption’ being caused by industrial action as he defended his administration’s anti-strikes legislation.

The Prime Minister, speaking to Sky News while in San Diego, US, said: ‘I don’t think it’s right that there’s so much disruption being caused to working families’ lives.

‘That’s why I, as Prime Minister, introduced new laws to have minimum safety levels in our critical public services like rail, like education, like healthcare.

‘It’s precisely because I do think people should not be able to have that disruption in their lives that I’m putting that new law through Parliament.’

He went on to mention the measures put in place to halve inflation and ease the burden of rising energy bills.

Mr Sunak said he had taken action on energy bills ‘because I know that that was a priority, to demonstrate to people that I’m on their side’.

Yesterday the Government said it is set to start ‘detailed negotiations’ with unions on teachers’ pay after fresh talks at the Department for Education, the head of the NASUWT union has said.

Dr Patrick Roach, its general secretary, said Education Secretary Gillian Keegan had informed him of the Government’s ‘starting point’ and that there was nothing standing in the way of ‘getting a deal onto the table’.

The NASUWT and headteachers’ union NAHT have held separate talks with Ms Keegan on Monday, with the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) doing the same today.

Dr Roach said: ‘Today’s meeting with the Secretary of State has given us the assurances we have been seeking. There is nothing that should now stand in the way of detailed negotiations and getting a deal onto the table.

‘Ministers have heard from us and we have heard from them on their starting point for pay negotiations for this year and next year.

‘Whilst there are numerous issues that will need to be discussed and a lot of ground to make up, there is the scope to find a basis for agreement which all sides can support.

‘Resolving our ongoing dispute with the Government can only be achieved by reaching a negotiated settlement.’

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said nothing had changed but sounded similarly hopeful of progress following his own meeting.

He said: ‘It is a continuation of a positive dialogue that we have been having.

‘Nothing has changed in terms of a deal being offered or the circumstances to get everybody in the same room.

‘But there is clearly a genuine desire to talk and there is a genuine desire on all sides to understand what the Government wishes to offer.’

Mr Whiteman said he did not know when negotiations might take place, but added: ‘That is not to say that I am not without genuine hope and some expectation, but when it will happen I am not sure.’

He went on: ‘Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to find a way through to get us all together and it is certainly my preference that we should meet together, not separately.

‘As soon as the conditions are there, that we can all get in the room together, then I think progress can be made.’

The Government has not met the National Education Union (NEU) for fresh talks ahead of its planned strike on Wednesday and Thursday despite it being Britain’s largest education union.

Mary Bousted, its joint general secretary, accused Gillian Keegan of ‘playing politics’ and said the individual meetings did not constitute ‘formal’ negotiations.

She said: ‘This is yet more distraction politics.

‘The Education Secretary needs to call all the education unions together to hold dispute resolution talks to get the issue of teacher pay in England sorted.

‘Gillian Keegan needs to take a leaf out of the Welsh Government’s book, stop playing politics and get down to serious negotiation.’

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