Unions plot coordinated strike this autumn to step up pay demands and pile pressure on new PM

Unions are seeking to launch coordinated strikes this autumn to step up pay demands in the face of the cost-of-living crisis

Published

Strikes have caused severe disruption to the British economy for months – but the industrial action has so far taken place largely on different days.

Now, union leaders appear to be planning more coordinated action, in a bid to cause more chaos and achieve their goal of higher wages to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

Next month’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) looks set to see the tabling of a series of motions calling for unions to work more closely together.

The move would stop short of a general strike but has the backing of the two biggest unions, Unison and Unite.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT)
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT)
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss both hope they will be the next PM
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss both hope they will be the next PM

Action on such a scale could be highly problematic for the country's next Prime Minister, as the winner in the Tory leadership race – either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – will be decided next week.

Unite’s motion calls for help to “facilitate and encourage industrial co-ordination between unions so that workers in dispute can most effectively harness their union power to win”.

It also says: “Congress recognises the need for unions to focus on collective action and industrial power to best represent and advance the interests of workers. The collective is the real power of the trade union movement.”

The move, as reported in The Observer, comes after weeks of worsening industrial relations and accusations from union officials that the Government is doing little or nothing to help workers struggling with mounting bills.

Strikes have been held across a range of sectors including among dock workers, bin collectors and on the transport network.

The TUC's Kevin Rowan added: “The fact is we are seeing energy costs go up 35 times faster than wages, food bills are going up, housing costs are going up.

“The only thing not going up is people’s pay.”

Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that whoever succeeds him in No 10 would announce “another huge package of financial support” as Britain faces sky-high costs this winter.

He hinted at the scale of the options to ease the burden being teed up for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak to consider, as he said “we must and we will help people through the crisis”.