According to a new report, the current rail strike and talk of other industrial action by teachers, postal workers, NHS staff and even lawyers has led to a whopping 184% increase in Google searches for ‘join a union’ . The analysis reveals that the increase seen on June 22 in the UK was the highest level in more than a year.
There has been extensive media coverage of the RMT union strike which began this week over job cuts, working conditions, pensions and wages. A ‘summer of discontent’ is predicted as other unions representing staff struggling with the cost of living crisis may follow suit.
The analysis, by recruitment experts Workello, reveals that searches for ‘join a union’ have soared to almost triple the average volume over the past week, an unprecedented rise in the number of Britons looking to sign up to a union, according to Google’s search data analysis.
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The data also reveals that searches for “how to strike” have skyrocketed by 135% since the strikes began. A spokesperson for Workello said: ‘This week the British public have been faced with trains across the country coming to a halt as a result of these RMT strikes, making it difficult to get to work, attend events and appointments.
“However, the strikes have also encouraged a flurry of online interest in joining a union, indicating the massive impact strikers are having across the country. With more strikes in other sectors reportedly taking place in Going forward, it will be interesting to see if these searches continue to increase, especially if the strikers get the desired result.
Teachers could go on strike later this year unless they get pay rises in line with inflation. Unions say teachers’ pay has fallen by a fifth in real terms since 2010 and the profession is facing a recruitment and retention crisis fueled by low pay.
More than 115,000 postal workers are due to vote soon on whether to take industrial action. The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has informed Royal Mail that it will vote staff with ballots sent out on June 28, with the result to be announced on July 19.
Meanwhile, lawyers will go on strike Monday and Tuesday next week after members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) voted overwhelmingly in favor of industrial action. More than 80% of CBA-elected lawyers backed a four-week strike plan over a dispute over legal aid rates for defense attorneys.
Strikes could also spread to the NHS workforce later this year if demands for inflation-in-line pay rises are ignored. The Royal College of Nursing has called for a pay rise of 5% above inflation, saying “salary is a crucial factor in the recruitment and retention of the nursing workforce”.