Powerful Videos Show 40,000 Striking Workers Marching Through London

Wednesday was the largest coordinated day of industrial action for a decade.
Striking members and supporters of the National Education Union (NEU) on Whitehall, on a march from Portland Place to Westminster
Striking members and supporters of the National Education Union (NEU) on Whitehall, on a march from Portland Place to Westminster
Jordan Pettitt - PA Images via Getty Images

Striking workers marched through London on Wednesday in the largest day of coordinated strike action for a decade, as part of a poignant act of unity.

Eight months into the industrial action, it’s clear unions are not planning on backing down, with more strikes expected throughout February.

Just under half a million civil servants, teachers and train drivers – and some lecturers and librarians – walked out together on February 1 alone in a protest against pay, jobs and working conditions.

The National Education Union (NEU) estimated that around 85% of schools across England and Wales would be affected by the walkouts, with potentially 300,000 union members joining the picket lines across the country.

The estimated impact of each day of just the teachers’ strikes is around £20 million.

General secretary of National Education Union, Mary Bousted, told news agency Reuters that teachers “are saying, very reluctantly, that enough is enough and that things have to change.”

According to Sky News’ Rachael Venables, organisers believe 40,000 striking teachers and workers march through central London on Wednesday.

Reuters also said Wednesday’s response from the 500,000 total striking workers is the most disruption seen since 2011, when civil servants left their jobs in droves.

Most rail services were closed too, and military had to be on standby to assist with border checks.

PM Rishi Sunak has particularly taken aim at teachers in this week’s walkouts.

He said millions of children were forced to miss school, saying: “Our children’s education is precious and they deserve to be in school today being taught.”

He is also pushing for the Government’s Strikes (Minimum Services Levels) Bill, which would require essential workers – firefighters, ambulance staff and railway workers – to have minimum staffing even on strike days.

It comes as inflation is at 10.5%, still a 40-year-high despite a small dip from October’s 11.1%, and strikes are happening across the public and private sectors.

More NHS workers are expected to walk out next week, too.

In the eight months leading up to January, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, strikes have cost the UK economy around £1.7 billion or 0.1% of expected GDP.


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