Sunak tries to remain above fray as public sector strikes continue
As teachers prepare to join the latest wave of industrial action battering Rishi Sunaks government this week, there is little sign of either side backing down.
Teachers in England and Wales will strike on Wednesday, alongside university staff, train drivers and 100,000 civil servants across scores of separate workplaces.
Nurses and ambulance workers will follow next week in an unprecedented joint stoppage, raising the stakes in their long-running dispute yet higher.
People are adding it to a long list of things wrong with the country, says James Johnson, of the pollsters JL Partners.
Sunaks strategy appears to be to hold firm, perhaps in the hope that public support falls away, helping to squeeze striking workers into settling for minor concessions.
Ministers hope they can confine these to the coming years pay round, after Jeremy Hunts March budget. No 10 has suggested any pay rise above about 3.5% would have to come with improvements to productivity and efficiency.
But union leaders have continued to insist their members need more money now, to help them cope with double-digit inflation and start to reverse years of real-terms cuts.
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