Trade unions have discussed coordinating strike action alongside a large-scale public show of support for workers in a bid to force the government to increase wages.
Unions want to harness the power of public pressure as they consider how to escalate industrial action.
A national day of protest will be held on 1 February, the Trades Union Congress, the umbrella body for the movement, has announced. Rallies and marches could take place across the country, while the public will be invited to show their support on social media.
The protest is against the government’s planned new laws on minimum standard levels, which could see striking workers sacked.
It is thought some unions could look to also walkout on the same day, although some of the larger ones, such as the health unions, are understood to be more sceptical of the idea.
There is already some coordinated strike action between unions. On Wednesday, ambulance staff who are members of two unions, Unison and the GMB, will stage their second strike over pay.
Nurses have already unveiled plans for two days of back-to-back strikes later this month, in a bid to make ministers negotiate.
Pat Cullen, the leader of the UK’s nurses, told The Independent at the weekend that action would “have” to intensify unless her members got a pay rise. But she played down the idea of coordinating with other health unions, such as ambulances, citing patient safety concerns.
On top of nurses, ambulance staff, rail workers and others, the government is also facing the prospect of potential strikes by junior doctors and teachers.
Unions representing a number of key professions met for talks at the Trades Union Congress on Tuesday.
They were invited to “consider the scope for further coordination, including a day of action in pursuit of fair pay for public service workers.”
A TUC spokesman said: “The TUC has vowed to fight the new strike curbs every step of the way – including through parliament and the courts.
“The union body says the government’s new anti-strike plans are unworkable and almost certainly in breach of international law.”
It is understood that nothing was agreed at the meeting except the national day of protest on 1 February. Strike dates are for individual unions, not for the TUC.