RESIDENTS in Somerset are braced this month for the biggest wave of industrial action in more than a decade.

Workers across the country are set to walk out amid falling real terms wages.

January sees strikes by rail workers, civil servants, ambulance driver and call handlers, nurses, and others. 

These are the strikes set to impact Somerset this month: 

Rail workers 

The Great Western Railway (GWR) will be affected as part of strikes by the Rail Maritime and Transport Union across 14 of the UK’s 28 train operators. 

Strikes will take place January 3 to January 7, during which time just one-fifth of trains are expected to run. Disruption will continue into January 8 owing to a late start, with normal service expected to resume on January 9. 

GWR has cautioned customers to avoid travel on strike days and advised that: 

“Customers who have already purchased tickets for strike days can claim a full refund or amend their ticket, those who travel and are delayed may be entitled to compensation if they are delayed by 15 minutes or more.” 

A national strike by the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen Union (ASLEF) will impact South Western Railway services. Strike action will take place from January 3 to January 8 with customers warned only to travel if absolutely necessary. 

Civil Servants 

Farmers can expect difficulties accessing a number of services this month as 420 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) action stoppages. Workers at the Rural Payments Agency, responsible for the British Cattle Movement Service, the administration of imports, exports, and grants walked out on January 3.

The strike will continue until tomorrow (January 6), with a second strike to take place from January 9 to January 13. 


Nurses with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are set to strike on January 18 and January 19. 

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: 

“The public support has been heart-warming and I am more convinced than ever that this is the right thing to do for patients and the future of the NHS.” 

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust workers are among those striking, making disruption at Musgrove Park Hospital a certainty. Nationally, thousands of NHS operations and appointments have already been cancelled in anticipation of the action. 

Ambulance workers

On January 11 and January 12 ambulance workers with the UNISON union will strike, which will involve staff in the South West. 

In a statement UNISON said: 

“The January strikes will each be for 24 hours from midnight to midnight and involve all ambulance employees, not just the 999 response crews.” 

On January 11 UNISON members will be joined on the picket lines by striking workers of the GMB union, which is set to affect the South Western Ambulance Service Trust among others. 

Driving Examiners

From January 4 to January 10 there will be a strike by driving examiners of the PCS union. The workers, employed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, are set to walk out over a pay dispute. The action will impact candidates hoping to sit practical vehicular tests, while theory tests carry on as normal. 

Those hoping to sit a test in the near future are advised to check with their local test centre as to any cancellations.