UK lecturers, teachers join postal workers in strikes

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LONDON Thousands of U.K. postal workers, university lecturers, and schoolteachers went on strike on Thursday to demand better wages and working conditions in the face of the country’s current cost-of-living crisis.

Picketlines will be set up in front of schools, universities, and postal offices as part of the largest coordinated walkouts this season.

Britons are experiencing travel misery and overflowing garbage cans since the strikes by unions representing multiple industries began in recent months. Many workers, including lawyers, nurses, posties, have quit their jobs to get pay increases that match the soaring inflation. Domestic energy bills and food costs have skyrocketed this year, driving inflation to a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.

In Scotland most schools will close on Thursday as teachers take the first major strike action in decades.

In universities, some 70,000 academic staff will strike on Thursday and again on Nov. 30 in the biggest action of its kind in higher education. An estimated 2.5 million students will be affected by the strike.

Meanwhile, workers at the Royal Mail will walk out on Thursday and again on Black Friday and Christmas Eve.

The latest walkouts come after the Rail, Maritime and Transport union announced Tuesday that more than 40,000 rail workers will stage fresh strikes in December and January, disrupting travel for scores of people during the busy festive season. The union announced that members would walk out for four consecutive days starting Dec. 13, and continuing through the first week in January.

Bars, restaurants and other hospitality businesses expressed their dismay at the announcement of the latest train strike.

“Continued rail strikes have had a huge impact on our hospitality sector; preventing staff from making it into work and disrupting consumers’ plans, meaning a huge drop in sales for venues across the sector,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive for the UKHospitality trade body.

“Against the busiest season for hospitality, further strikes will be devastating just as everyone was expecting an uninterrupted Christmas period for three years.” she said.

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