What exactly is a strike?
A strike is when workers make an official protest by refusing to do their job for a set period of time. Police officers and prison officers are not allowed to strike.
Why do they happen?
In many industries, workers belong to a trade union. These organisations look after workers and talk to employers about pay, working hours and conditions. If no agreement is reached, unions can ask their members to vote on whether to go on strike.
Why are there more strikes at the moment?
Most of the latest strikes are over pay. This is because prices are rising very quickly at the moment and, without pay rises, workers are being left much worse off. These strikes will cause a lot of disruption, in everything from hospitals to train travel, but they are often seen as a last resort for workers to get their voices heard.
What happens to workers who strike?
For the first 12 weeks, workers cannot lose their jobs for joining a strike organised by their union. However, they don’t get paid for the days they are on strike.
Who is going on strike? Here are just some of the workers who are striking this year:
Thousands of nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will strike on 15 and 20 December. This is the biggest strike in the history of the NHS. The Royal College of Nursing trade union has said emergency care will be provided. However, many operations and appointments will be cancelled.
Railway workers have been holding one-day strikes since June over pay, job cuts and conditions. More rail strikes are planned before Christmas and into next year.
Royal Mail workers have been striking and have more planned in December over pay and job cuts.
Almost every school in Scotland closed on 24 November due to a teachers’ strike. More strikes are expected next year.
University staff across the UK, including lecturers and cleaners, went on strike for three days at the end of November over pay, workloads and pensions.