Criminal barristers vote to end strike after accepting government pay offer | UK News
Criminal lawyers in England and Wales have voted to end their strike after accepting the government’s offer of pay.
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) confirms the end of industrial action, which has brought many cases to a halt.
In a statement on Twitter, it said: “The Crime Bar voted to accept the government’s offer.
“With 57% voting to accept the government’s proposal, the action will be halted from 6pm this afternoon.”
It comes after the justice minister proposed more reforms to the legal aid fee, which the government said amounted to another £54 million.
The CBA said the criminal justice system was still “lack of regular funding” but it would respect members’ decisions and end the strike.
Attorneys will be able to accept new cases from Monday night and will return to court on Tuesday.
They had initially been offered a 15% fee increase from the end of September – adding £7,000 a year – but were told it would only apply to new cases.
An improvement proposal from the Department of Justice applied the increase to “the vast majority of cases currently in crown court”.
Attorney General Brandon Lewis said he was “delighted that the lawyers have agreed to return to work”.
He added: “This breakthrough is the result of coming together and restarting what I hope is a constructive relationship as we work to reduce backlogs and ensure make sure victims see justice done sooner.”
The Supreme Court recently warned that a strike delaying the trials may not be a good enough reason to keep the defendants if the dispute drags on into November.
The attorneys started their action over the summer – initially on alternate weeks and turned down certain jobs – before turning it into an ongoing walkout last month.
The CBA reckons that wages in real terms have fallen by an average of 28% since 2006.
Some attorneys say they sometimes earn less than the minimum wage for government work when measured by the number of hours they work.