What Great British summer? Chaos will hit airports, hospitals and universities along rail strikes

What Great British summer? Chaos will hit airports, hospitals and universities alongside crippling rail strikes that could bring the country grinding to a halt

  • Tomorrow university students face disruption to their degree programs
  • The UCU strikes over pay as lecturers refuse to mark any exams or coursework
  • Over 100,000 students have had only ‘three months of uninterrupted teaching’
  • British Airways workers voted in favor of a strike that may halt summer holidays
  • Health workers in Lancashire may strike to get the same pay as NHS colleagues

It is not only the railways that are set to be massively disrupted by strikes in the coming months.

Universities, airports and hospitals could be hit by walkouts so severe they threaten to grind the country to a halt.

From tomorrow, university students across the UK will face huge disruption to their degree programs following two years of interrupted study in the pandemic.

Hundreds of lecturers will embark on a marking boycott which will see them completely down tools, leaving many students fearing they will not be able to graduate.

The strike action, orchestrated by the University and College Union, hopes to force vice chancellors to revoke pension cuts and also meet staff demands over pay and working conditions.

The boycott will see lecturers refuse to mark any final exams or coursework, and is set to disrupt more than 100,000 students.

Earlier this month, a third-year history student at the University of Nottingham, Lucia Botfield, feared she would not be able to graduate.

She said: ‘We’ve had about three months of uninterrupted teaching [during] our whole degree because of Covid and strikes – and it’s just annoying. They have told us nothing. ‘

Universities, airports and hospitals could be hit by walkouts so severe they threaten to grind the country to a halt (pictured) People wait inside Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport

Universities, airports and hospitals could be hit by walkouts so severe they threaten to grind the country to a halt (pictured) People wait inside Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport

Meanwhile, holidaymakers traveling through Heathrow this summer will have to prepare for delays and slower service, as the GMB Union is balloting for strikes to take place at the airport.

A number of British Airways ground staff and check-in desk workers have voted in favor of a strike that could cause chaos for travelers. The workers are demanding that a ten per cent cut – imposed during the pandemic – is reinstated in their pay packets.

GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said: ‘These workers are claiming back what they had robbed from them due to BA’s callous fire and rehire during the pandemic. BA forced our members into pay cuts during the pandemic, when they had little workplace power to fight back.

‘Now our members are back at work and staff shortages are hammering the company – it is their time to claim back what is theirs.’

In the next few days, HGV drivers represented by Unite union are set to stop delivering goods to almost 500 Co-ops across the country in a bid to secure better pay.

Around 330 workers employed by GXO, the logistics giant, are set to take 40 days of strike action between this month and August, meaning in-store shortages are almost certain.

University strikes will hit students who had already missed out on in-person teaching due to covid so would have only three months of uninterrupted teaching for their entire degree (Pictured) A University and College Union (UCU) banner hangs of the gates of Queen's University Belfast as staff embark on a 10 days of strike action over pension and pay cuts

University strikes will hit students who had already missed out on in-person teaching due to covid so would have only three months of uninterrupted teaching for their entire degree (Pictured) A University and College Union (UCU) banner hangs of the gates of Queen’s University Belfast as staff embark on a 10 days of strike action over pension and pay cuts

Unite regional officer Kenny Rowe said: ‘Strike action will undoubtedly cause disruption to Co-op stores across much of the country but this dispute is entirely of GXO’s own making.

‘Even at this late stage, strike action and the ensuing disruption can still be avoided, but GXO has to make an improved offer.’

Hospitals may also be affected by the upcoming ‘summer of discontent’ due to the threat of strike action by hospital porters and cleaners in Lancashire who are part of Unison union.

Health workers employed by a private firm in Lancashire are voting over whether to take strike action to win the same pay and holiday rates as NHS colleagues.

Meanwhile, bin men and council administration staff across the country could also embark on a damaging summer shutdown.

Workers represented by Unite union, including those in east London’s Hackney and across Northern Ireland are already taking strike action over a 1.75 per cent pay offer set by the Local Government Association.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘What use is 1.75 or 2 per cent on pay after more than a decade of attacks of pay and in the face of rampant inflation? These offers are not pay rises, they are pay cuts and Unite members are right to reject them. ‘

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