The public is having to deal with the disruptions from train and postal strikes, as well as closed schools, overflowing bins and gridlock in the courts.
There could be further strikes through the winter and next year, as doctors and civil servants are in dispute with their employers.
Many of the employees in many industries belong to trade unions, which represent their interests to management and negotiate on their behalf over pay, jobs and working conditions.
Workers can also take fewer drastic measures to put pressure on their employers, such as refusing to do overtime. Basic services are maintained in some professions. Doctors and nurses won't stop working as that would put lives at risk.
Who is considering industrial action?
Most businesses and some companies that don't have enough money to give pay rises are concerned with staff wages because of the fact that they don't have enough money to give pay rises.
Doctors, nurses, and the striking lawyers are paid by the government. Their salary is set by a review process which published its findings in July, presenting millions of workers with below-inflation pay rises.
The Bank of England worries that if workers win big pay rises, their employers will have to put prices up for customers. There is an increase in inflation that causes workers to request larger pay rises, making inflation harder to bring down, according to a wage-price spiral.
Some workers are in a strong position because unemployment is extremely low. There are more vacancies than people looking for work, and many businesses are short of workers.
A number of disputes have been resolved this year, with some workers getting pay rises of 10% or more.