Employment

March 15 strike: From tube drivers to teachers, who’s on strike on Wednesday? 

The London Underground, schools, hospitals, universities and government departments are all set to be hit by large-scale disruption due to the strikes

pay rise inflation

Teachers on strike at Stocklake Park Community School, Aylesbury, on February 1. Image: Linda H / @lCitizenErased

Wednesday 15 March is budget day, the day Rishi Sunak’s chancellor Jeremy Hunt announces how much money he will allot for government services and departments in the year ahead.

To protest low pay that is crippling the services they provide, and call for greater investment to save them from ruin, hundreds of thousands of people will walk out of their workplaces, again.

Union leaders have coordinated industrial action to cause maximum disruption as the rising cost of living has become a unifying force behind demands for higher pay.

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Unions including the National Education Union have organised a national march from London’s Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, for what’s expected to be the biggest demonstration this year. 

New legislation brought in by the government that would restrict the right to strike by forcing some workers to maintain minimum service levels has only added fuel to the fire. 

Here’s why March 15 is set to cause widespread disruption across the country.

Who is going on strike on March 15?

Teachers with the NEU

Schools in England and Wales will see teachers walk out of classrooms on March 15 and 16, following rolling strikes affecting schools on different days. 

Called by the National Education Union, teachers at sixth-form colleges in England will also join the strike. 

More than half of schools in England closed or partially closed during the first national NEU strike on February 1. The NEU and other education unions are calling for a pay rise above inflation. 

Junior doctors

Junior doctors in England are set to stage a 72-hour strike from 7am on March 13 to 7am on March 15, the British Medical Association has announced. 

Junior doctors account for around 40 per cent of the medical workforce, the BBC reports, and will walk out of both routine and emergency care departments.

The 48,000 striking doctors are “demoralised, angry and no longer willing to work for wages that have seen a real-terms decline of over 26 per cent in the past 15 years”, said a BMA spokesperson.



Civil servants including Border Force officials

Around 133,000 civil servants in over 123 departments, including those working for the tax office, driving instructors, Border Force officials, and Department for Work and Pensions in roles such as Universal Credit handles have voted to strike. 

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has escalated strike action to put pressure on the government to increase pay of civil servants, with its members earning on average just £23,000 a year. 

“Unless ministers put more money on the table, our strikes will continue to escalate, beginning on March 15,” PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said in a statement.

Tube drivers and workers with Aslef and the RMT

London Underground staff and tube drivers will bring the transport network to a standstill on Wednesday to protest job losses and changes to pensions and working agreements.

Aslef, which represents the majority of tube drivers, has called its members to walk out in a dispute over changes to working arrangements and pensions. London Underground staff with the RMT will also strike.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Tube workers provide an essential service to the capital, making sure the city can keep moving and work long hours in demanding roles. In return they deserve decent pensions, job security and good working conditions and the RMT will fight and tooth nail to make sure that’s what they get.”

A spokesperson for Transport for London (TfL) told the BBC: “We have not proposed changes to anyone’s pensions.”

University workers

More than 70,000 university staff including lecturers are being encouraged to strike on March 15, in addition to strikes on March 16, 17, and then again the following week from Monday 20 to Wednesday 22. 

They are calling for more pay from higher education institutions. The University and College Union remains in negotiations with employers having paused strike action for two-weeks to encourage positive discussion, resuming strike action after employer body UCEA instructed its member institutions to impose a pay award without agreement from the union. 

Here is the full list of national strikes taking place this March 2023. 

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