Workers from across the UK’s public sector protests Feb. 1.
They protest a controversial new labor law — passed by the House of Commons on Jan. 31 — that prohibits some emergency workers and rail employees from participating in strikes.
The latest in a series of walk-outs that have rocked the UK in recent months, including large-scale actions by nurses, teachers, and postal workers in response to stagnant wages.
Critics say the new law allows the government to exert excessive power over employees, while its proponents argue it’s essential for public safety. While the bill must still pass the House of Lords, the chamber’s role is largely ceremonial.
In tandem with the strike, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) — England’s association of organized labor — has planned mass demonstrations in major cities across the country against the new policy, as well as the government’s refusal to negotiate new pay raises for public employees.