Strikes December 2022: What action is planned around Christmas?

An empty Kings Cross train station in London – during a previous UK rail strike (Picture: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Christmas is coming – but December 2022 is also bringing a bundle of fresh strike action.

Festive cheer will be in limited supply if you rely on UK trains or London buses to get around, as yet more industrial action has been announced for December and January by the RMT.

More picket lines are forming this December, too, as postal workers and nursing staff have also announced strike dates.

So, which walkouts are happening in the run-up to Christmas? And how might they impact you?

Here’s all you need to know.

UK rail strikes

RMT members striking in October 2022 (Picture: Geoffrey Swaine/Shutterstock)

More than 40,000 train workers with the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will strike over four days in December.

Those dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 13
  • Wednesday, December 14
  • Friday, December 16
  • Saturday, December 17.

These are national strikes, so will impact trains all over the country.

An overtime ban will also be in place from Sunday, December 18 lasting until Monday, January 2.

RMT said of the latest walkouts: ‘Despite every effort made by our negotiators, it is clear that the government is directly interfering with our attempts to reach a settlement.

‘The union suspended previous strike action in good faith to allow for intensive negotiations to resolve the dispute. Yet Network Rail have failed to make an improved offer on jobs, pay and conditions for our members during the last two weeks of talks.’

While Network Rail’s chief negotiator Tim Shoveller said: ‘No one can deny the precarious financial hole in which the railway finds itself.

‘Striking makes that hole bigger and the task of finding a resolution ever more difficult.

‘Only through reform, that will not result in anyone losing their job, can savings be made that can then be converted into an improved offer. And while progress has been made over these last two weeks, we still have yet to find that breakthrough.

‘We will not give up and hope that the RMT will return to the table with a more realistic appreciation of the situation.’

On December 11 and 12, Avanti West Coast routes may be affected by planned strike action, also by the RMT.

London bus strikes

A range of London buses will be affected by strike action across the capital this December (Picture: Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

London buses are due to be hit by multiple December strike days.

Bus workers for companies Abellio and Metroline are the ones taking industrial action, so those buses will be affected on strike days – with other buses running but busier than usual.

Public transport users will experience disruption on the following days:

  • Thursday, December 1 (Abellio and Metroline)
  • Friday, December 2 (Abellio and Metroline)
  • Saturday, December 3 (Abellio and Metroline)
  • 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)

Dozens of buses in London are going to be impacted by strikes, located mainly in the north, north-west, west and south of the capital.

You can find the full list of buses affected on Transport for London (TfL) website.

NHS nurse strikes

RCN boss Pat Cullen was pictured leaving the Department for Health in late November – in a bid to avert strike action (Picture: PA)

Nursing staff with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union will begin strike action on Thursday, December 15 and Tuesday, December 20.

The dispute is regarding pay for nurses, as well as concerns over the safety of patients – as the RCN says ‘patient care is being compromised’ due to low levels of staff.

Strikes will be held across England, Wales and Northern Ireland (not Scotland, as the RCN is currently back at the negotiating table with the Scottish government).

RCN’s general secretary Pat Cullen has said: ‘Ministers have had more than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they would strike for the first time.

‘My offer of formal negotiations was declined and instead ministers have chosen strike action. They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute.

‘Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve.’

However, not all staff with a mandate to take industrial action will be walking out just yet.

RCN adds: ‘Not all members at employers where there is a mandate to strike will be called to strike on these first two dates… phase one could be just the beginning of a longer period of strike action.’

Royal Mail post strikes

The CWU and Royal Mail are currently in a dispute that has yet to be resolved with a deal (Picture: Getty)

Post strikes are set to continue into December, as Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) remains in a dispute with Royal Mail.

The dispute is related to pay, and the Pathway To Change agreement which covers workers’ terms and conditions.

Strikes are due to be undertaken on the following dates:

  • Thursday, December 1
  • Friday, December 9
  • Sunday, December 11
  • Wednesday December 14
  • Thursday December 15
  • Friday, December 23
  • Saturday, December 24

People can expect delays to their mail and deliveries during the industrial action.

Given that there are planned strikes on December 23 and Christmas Eve, it’s probably wise to think about sending cards or sorting anything that needs to be posted ahead of time.

Of the strikes in November, Royal Mail warned customers on its website: ‘[We have] well-developed contingency plans, but we cannot fully replace the daily efforts of our frontline workforce.

‘We’ll be doing what we can to keep services running, but we are sorry this planned strike action is likely to cause you some disruption.’

Higher education strikes

Staff at Strathclyde University have two more strike dates planned, Unite’s website says (Picture: Getty)

Strikes at some universities across the country took place throughout November 2022.

However, for a small number there is still action to come. For example, Unite members at University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland are due to strike on December 7 and 15.

Strike action at specific colleges, including Darlington College (December 6, 7 and 12) and Furness College (December 6, 7 and 15), is also scheduled by members of the University and College Union (UCU).

It almost goes without saying that – for all of the aforementioned industrial action – plans could change, or strikes could be called off, if negotiations are successful and a deal is reached.

If you’re unsure if a strike is still going ahead, check the RMT or National Rail, Transport for London, RCN, CWU or Royal Mail, or Unite or UCU websites for the latest updates.

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