More strike action to affect rail passengers, patients and pupils

FURTHER disruption is expected for thousands across Tunbridge Wells this week as rail workers, doctors and teachers prepare for more strike action whilst public sectors unions deliberate the Government’s “final offer”.

Public sector unions are planning to go on strike this week, with more planned for July and into August and September.

The Prime Minister announced a new pay offer on July 13. Increases of between five and seven per cent have been offered to teachers, police officers, prison guards, armed forces as well as doctors and consultants.

While some of the offers have been deemed generous, some unions say it is not enough. Rail workers were offered nothing



From Thursday, commuters travelling from Tunbridge Wells have been advised to make other travel arrangements owing to a limited service, with some routes cancelled and no rail replacement bus services.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union announced further strike action on Thursday July 20, Saturday July 22, and Saturday July 29 in their continued dispute over pay and conditions. The latest dispute also involves the closing of ticket offices across the county.

Meanwhile ASLEF continues its overtime bans this week, which means train drivers will not be working over their scheduled hours from July 17 to July 22.

Southeastern said it expects to continue running services as normal but some Southern and Thameslink services will be affected.

The union announced earlier this week that further overtime bans will be taking place from July 31 to August 5.



Patients at Tunbridge Wells Hospital will be impacted further this week as consultants are expected to walkout for 48 hours, from 7am on Thursday July 20 to 7am on Saturday July 22.

According to the British Medical Association (BMA), the consultant strike will be based on “Christmas Day levels of cover, meaning emergency care will still be provided”.

Following just a day after the 120-hour junior doctor strike, consultants will be taking over the picket lines in what is expected to be the longest period of walkouts from the NHS, in the same month it celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Last week the government made its “final offer” to the public sector, offering doctors a 6.5 per cent pay rise, but the BMA has rejected this offer, calling it a “derisory, sub-inflation pay award of less than 6 per cent for consultants”.

In the same announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, police officers and prison guards were offered a seven per cent pay rise.

In response to the government, the medical union announced further consultant strike days on August 24 and 25.

“We anticipate and are planning for the action to have a significant impact on services provided across all areas of the NHS,” said NHS Kent and Medway’s Chief Medical Officer Kate Langford. “This includes our hospitals, Accident and Emergency departments, primary care (GP practices) and mental health services.”



Last week the Government offered teachers a 6.5 per cent pay rise, an extra 3.5 per cent on top of their previous offer.

This extra £900m funding per year will not be taken from the school or college budgets, but come from the Department of Education.

However, this DfE funding only covers the extra 3 per cent rise from the original 3.5 per cent offer, which will come from internal funding.

This partially funded pay rise has been recommended by the NEU and NASWAT to accept the offer.

But it is the members who will have the final say as unions opened an electronic ballot, which will run from July 18-28.

While this looks like a promising end to the teacher strikes in Tunbridge Wells, teachers’ union, the NASUWT voted in favour of industrial action last week (July 13), but will also be putting the new offer to its members.

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