UK trial lawyers to end strike after accepting government pay offer

British trial lawyers will end a weeks-long strike on Monday after voting to accept the government’s pay offer, their union said.

The Criminal Barristers Association (CBA), which has more than 2,000 members and represents barristers in England and Wales, said roughly 57% of trial lawyers balloted on the government’s pay offer had accepted it.

The strike is due to end at 1600 GMT on Monday.

Criminal barristers walked out indefinitely on Sept. 5, refusing to take on new cases after weeks of intermittent action over the summer in a dispute over government funding.

The government offered a 54 million pound investment along with a 15% fee rise for criminal barristers that would apply to the vast majority of cases currently in the Crown Court.

The CBA described the offer as an “overdue start”, saying it would hold another ballot for a strike if it is not implemented.

Lawyers who act in criminal court cases have said real earnings have dropped 28% since 2006, with junior barristers earning a median income of only 12,200 pounds ($13,500) in their first three years, forcing many to quit.

“The underlying causes that compelled us to commence action, as a unified group, have not gone away,” the CBA said. “The Criminal Justice System remains chronically underfunded.”

Justice minister Brandon Lewis welcomed the barristers’ decision.

“This breakthrough is a result of coming together and restarting what I hope to be a constructive relationship as we work to drive down the backlog and ensure victims see justice done sooner,” he said.

Industrial unrest has affected a range of professions in Britain this year, from medics and postal workers to rail staff and pilots, as rising costs of living spur demands for better pay and conditions.

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