A WAVE of strikes is set to hit Essex this month as teachers, junior doctors, railway workers and NHS consultants are all set to walk out.

Essex residents are gearing up for disruption caused by a series of strikes in disputes over pay and working conditions.

National Education Union Strikes

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) plan to strike on Wednesday July 5 and Friday July 7, marking their seventh and eighth days of strike action since February 1, 2023.

Their primary demand is for  a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise to make up for years of under inflation rises.

In early April 2023, the Government's pay and funding offer was rejected by nearly all NEU members.

Teachers have been offered an average pay rise of 4.5 oer cent for 2023 to 2024 with newly qualified teachers starting on a wage of £30,000.

Maria Fawcett, Regional Secretary of the NEU said: "It is with great reluctance that our members are taking further strike action but teachers have been left with no choice.

"The Government is infuriating teachers and letting pupils down.

"There is a crisis in education. Schools and colleges are haemorrhaging staff, and those who remain are having to work unacceptably high numbers of additional hours in return for pay which continues to worsen in value."

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan is accused of ignoring a report from the School Teachers’ Review Body recommending a 6.5 per cent pay increase for teachers.

Meanwhile, teacher vacancies have risen by over half over the last year, with a third of teachers leaving the profession within five years of qualifying.

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Railway Workers' Strike

Railway workers represented by the ASLEF and RMT unions are also set to strike.

ASLEF's action will result in some service cancellations on Greater Anglia routes from Monday July 3 until Saturday July 8.

The union bosses are demanding a pay increase in line with inflation, which sits at 10.5 per cent.

The RMT has also announced three 24-hour strikes for July 20, 22, and 29.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, apologised to customers and advised them to plan ahead, stating: "The rail industry is working hard to resolve the current disputes and reach an agreement."

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NHS Strikes

Junior doctors and NHS consultants are joining the fight for pay, with junior doctors planning to strike from July 13 until July 18, and NHS consultants on July 20 and 21.

Junior doctors are asking for a pay rise of 35 per cent to recompense them with earnings lost over the past decade.

Consultant pay has fallen by 27 per cent since 2008 once inflation is taken into account, but the BMA said once changes to tax and pension contributions were factored in, the cut to take-home pay was 35 per cent.

A major factor in this is the fact that income tax thresholds have been frozen, and the introduction of the additional 45 per cent tax rate for the highest earners.

During 2022, average NHS earnings exceeded £126,000 for consultants including extra pay for additional hours and performance.

Unlike junior doctors at the start of their dispute, consultants are not asking for full pay restoration in one go.

Instead, they want to see the government to start giving pay rises that match inflation.

Last year they received a 4.5 per cent pay increase - less than half the rate of inflation in the 12 months to March. No formal pay offer has been made for this year yet.

Junior doctors were offered a five per cent rise this year in their talks with government.

They rejected this, but have since said they would be willing to phase in pay restoration over a number of years.

The disputes reflect broader concerns over NHS funding, staff shortages, and the strain on existing employees.