Almost daily strike action across sectors ranging from transport to the NHS is to take place in the run-up to Christmas and beyond amid continuing deadlock between unions, employers and the government over pay and conditions.
The Fire Brigades Union is also planning to ballot its members after rejecting a 5% pay rise. And with millions of workers facing a cost of living emergency, the GMB union – which represents some of the ambulance workers who voted this week to strike – warned that “the government needs to listen” to their concerns.
The PCS, representing civil servants including Border Force officers, Passport Office staff and National Highways employees, has also backed strike action but is yet to confirm dates.
However, Downing Street on Thursday urged public sector unions to call off what it described as “unnecessary” industrial action.
Here, we sketch out which services are expected to be affected when in December.
Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and staff at sixth-form colleges have been staging pickets sparked by pay disputes in one of the biggest walkouts of the current wave of industrial action.
As well as their action this week, the mail members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will carry out single days of action up and until Christmas Eve.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 150 universities have been on strike, following up a 48-hour strike last week with a 24-hour stoppage.
The action at colleges is being organised by the National Education Union (NEU), whose members include those working at 77 sixth forms in England, who they say have suffered a pay cut of an estimated 20% in real terms since 2010.
Monday 5 December
More than 1,000 security workers who deliver cash and coins to some of the UK’s biggest banks and supermarkets are to take part in a 48-hour strike.
The action by 1,156 members of the GMB union who work for the security company G4S is due to start at 3am.
The union has been asking the company for a 15% pay rise on behalf of its members to take account of inflation.
Wednesday 7 December
Teachers from the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and NASUWT unions will begin the first of two days of strikes in a dispute over pay.
Thursday 8 December
Bus drivers on Metroline, which covers routes in north and west London, could go ahead with strike action if they reject an improved pay offer from the company.
Three days of strike action scheduled for this week involving more than 2,000 bus drivers from the Unite union were called off on 30 November after last-minute talks produced the offer, which will be subject to a ballot.
Teachers at Scottish secondary schools hold their second day of strikes.
Friday 9 December
Bus workers for Abellio, whose services are largely focused in the south and west of London, are to stage their latest strike after three days of action in late November.
Also on strike:
• Unite bus drivers at Metroline, depending on whether an improved pay offer is accepted.
• Postal-worker members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Saturday 10 December
Abellio Bus workers in the south and west of London will be on strike again.
Sunday 11 December
Postal-worker members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Monday 12 December
A strike by Unison members will take place in Northern Ireland across ambulance and other NHS services.
Tuesday 13 December
Thousands of members of the RMT union working for Network Rail and 14 train operating companies are to stage the first day of strikes, causing disruption over six consecutive days in the run-up to Christmas.
The strike includes crucial signalling staff, whose absence is likely to mean only a minority of services will run on main lines, while smaller lines will have no trains.
Workers from another transport union, the TSSA, will also take strike action in their ongoing national rail dispute over pay, job security and conditions. Their strikes on this day will affect Avanti West Coast lines.
The first of a number of strikes by staff at the government’s Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will also take place.
Also in the civil service, workers including driving examiners and call centre staff will begin rolling regional walkouts at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, starting on this date in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Wednesday 14 December
Another day of multiple strikes, including RMT members working for Network Rail and 14 train operating companies; TSSA members on Avanti West Coast lines; postal-worker members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and staff at the Rural Payments Agency.
Thursday 15 December
The first in a series of stoppages by up to 100,000 nurses, which will have an impact across 53 NHS organisations in England, will take place.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has made clear it would increase the scale of its industrial action unless Steve Barclay, the health secretary, engages in detailed talks over their demand for a pay rise of inflation plus 5%.
Unite bus drivers at Metroline may also be taking action, depending on whether an improved pay offer is accepted; so might postal-worker members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Friday 16 December
Security staff working for Eurostar, who are members of the RMT, will begin the first of four days of walk-outs in the run-up to Christmas in a pay dispute, although this action is not likely to stop trains.
Action is also expected by RMT members working for Network Rail and 14 train operating companies; Unite bus drivers at Metroline, depending on whether an improved pay offer is accepted; Abellio Bus workers in the south and west of London; TSSA members on Avanti West Coast lines and staff at Rural Payments Agency.
Saturday 17 December
Strike action will be taken by members of the TSSA working for c2c, which serves more than two dozen stations between east London and South Essex; RMT members working for Network Rail and 14 train operating companies; Abellio Bus workers in the south and west of London; and TSSA members on Avanti West Coast lines will also be taking action.
Sunday 18 December
Members of the RMT will start an overtime ban across the railways, which will run until 2 January, meaning RMT be taking industrial action for four weeks.
Members of the TSSA union will begin taking industrial action short of a strike (ASOS), affecting Avanti West Coast lines.
ASOS, in which members only carry out contractually required duties, will also take place at different times across different companies in the run up to Christmas. Eurostar security staff will also be on strike.
Tuesday 20 December
Strike action by nurses from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
Action by ambulance and other health staff is also possible amid talks by unions over a coordinated effort.
Thursday 22 December
Cleaners who are members of the RMT union will begin the first of a number of days of strikes rail at firms including Avanti, although services are unlikely to halt. Eurostar security staff will also be out.
Friday 23 December
Eurostar security staff, cleaners for a number of rail companies and postal-worker members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are all due to take action.
Saturday 24 December
Postal worker members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are due on strike.
Saturday 31 December
RMT members working as cleaners for a number of rail companies are due to take action.