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UK lecturers, teachers join postal workers in strikes

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LONDON (AP) — Thousands of postal workers, university lecturers and schoolteachers in the U.K. were going on strike on Thursday to demand better pay and working conditions amid the country’s cost-of-living crisis.

Picket lines will be set up outside postal offices, universities and schools in one of the biggest co-ordinated walkouts this year.

Britons have faced travel misery and overflowing garbage bins in recent months as unions representing multiple industries launched successive strikes. Lawyers, nurses, posties and many others have walked out of their jobs to seek pay rises that match soaring inflation. Domestic energy bills and food costs have skyrocketed this year, driving inflation to a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.

In Scotland, most schools will close Thursday as teachers there take the first large-scale strike action in decades.

In universities, some 70,000 academic staff will strike on Thursday and again on Nov. 30 in the biggest action of its kind in higher education. The action will affect an estimated 2.5 million students.

Meanwhile, workers at the Royal Mail will walk out on Thursday and again on Black Friday and Christmas Eve.

The latest walkouts come after the Rail, Maritime and Transport union announced Tuesday that more than 40,000 rail workers will stage fresh strikes in December and January, disrupting travel for scores of people during the busy festive season. The union said members will walk out for four days from Dec. 13 and in the first week of January.

Pubs, bars and other hospitality businesses have expressed dismay at the latest train strike announcement.

“Continued rail strikes have had a huge impact on our hospitality sector; preventing staff from making it into work and disrupting consumers’ plans, meaning a huge drop in sales for venues across the sector,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive for the UKHospitality trade body.

“Further strikes during the busiest time of the year for hospitality will be devastating, just as everyone was anticipating an uninterrupted Christmas period for the first time in three years,” she added.

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