How Does Remote Work Has the Potential to Change the Future of Strikes?

Strikes are becoming more common with the most current strikes being from train workers. But how successful will these strikes be with remote work being so popular? 

Photo by Jingyu Liu on Unsplash

To start with, it’s important to go over the point of a strike. Strikes occur when workers feel that they’re being ignored, taken advantage of, and being treated unfairly. A group will form a union, getting more workers on board until they have a large enough number on board that they feel the company will have to listen to them. The larger the number of people in a strike, the less work gets done, profits decrease and demands are met.


The latest large scale strike covered has been the train strikes, with 40,000 workers participating. It’s been the biggest strike from the railways that’s happened in 30 years.
Similarly to the bus strikes of October 2021 in Wales, this strike is over unfair wages and treatment. Union bosses have said that the cuts to wages and below-inflation wage proposals are the main reason behind the strike. Strikes usually have an impact on the general public in some way, maybe your favourite restaurant is shut for a few days, or your local shop hasn’t had a restock in a few days, but none of them compare to the waves a strike from the public transport system creates. 


At least that’s how it’s been in the past. With the high volume of people who work from home or are able to work from home, there’s a chance that this might impact the strikes effectiveness.
Since remote work is so popular now, public transportation is used less. For a lot, looking for remote work is preferable to office work for this exact reason. Public transportation can be unreliable, and on top of that the cost becomes quite expensive over time. 


Not everyone can rely on remote work though, a lot of jobs require physically being there, for example anyone working with food preparation won’t be able to just work from home. For these people the strikes interrupt their day and work life. Sometimes there just isn’t another way to get to where you need to be, or a reasonably priced way. Causing a stir with the general public is usually advantageous to a strike. With the public getting involved and complaining, it makes the companies more inclined to quickly seek a resolution with the workers and get everything running smoothly again. 


Yet with remote work, there will be less people affected by the strikes, and these strikes are creating a boom in the search for remote work jobs in the UK. There is potential for strikes to have less impact with more people working remotely. This doesn’t mean that striking won’t have an impact though, there are still plenty of reasons outside of work that require the use of trains. 


Remote work has the potential to pose a significant issue for strikes, but for the time being that threat isn’t too big. With the popularity of working from home rising, and the necessity of daily travel decreasing, there’s a chance that strikes won’t cause the same stir that they used to. Likely, these effects will be seen more evidently in areas with a lower population who have to rely on trains to get to work. It will be interesting to see how remote work impacts strikes going forward, and what kind of ramifications will come from this.