Train Services in the UK are at a Standstill Due to a New Strike
After 40,000 employees walked off the job in a protest over jobs, pay, and working conditions, Britain’s train system slowed to a crawl.
(AP) LONDON — Following 40,000 staff members leaving their positions in a dispute over jobs, wages, and working conditions on Wednesday, Britain’s train system came to a complete standstill. Only roughly a fifth of all scheduled trains across the nation, according to train operators.
The cleaners’, signalers’, maintenance workers, and station staff’s 24-hour strike comes one month after the nation’s most troublesome rail walkout in three decades grounded trains throughout the United Kingdom at the start of the summer vacation period.
As Britain’s railways struggle to adjust to changing travel and commuting habits brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, the conflict focuses on salary, working conditions, and job security. In the UK, there were roughly 1 billion railway trips in the year to March, down from 1.7 billion in the year before the epidemic. Rail companies are now aiming to slash expenses and workforce after receiving emergency government support for two years to keep them solvent.
The matter is not being resolved through negotiations. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers claims that despite the worst cost of living crisis in decades and skyrocketing inflation (now at 9.4%), employers’ most recent pay offer falls short.
The Conservative administration is charged with impending training firms from making a better offer. The union is at odds with privately held train operating businesses, as well as the government-run infrastructure company Network Rail, according to the government, which claims it is not directly involved in the issue.
“We will continue to negotiate in good faith, but we will not be pushed or cajoled by anyone,” RMT general secretary Mick Lynch stated.
The rail employers must negotiate a solution with us, he continued, and the government must quit interfering in this process.
Union leaders are allegedly seeking to “create as much disturbance to the day-to-day lives of millions of hardworking people across the country,” according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
He said that the strike had been “cynically timed” to interfere with the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday and the Wednesday semi-final of the European women’s soccer competition in Milton Keynes, north of London.
Last month, the union organized three one-day strikes that disrupted services all across the nation.
On Saturday, when train drivers are expected to strike, and on three other days in August, there will be additional strikes.
In Britain and around the world, this summer is shaping up to be one of travel inconvenience. As airports struggle to manage staff shortages and the dramatically increased demand for flights following two pandemic-hit years, aviation travelers are experiencing delays and disruptions in numerous nations.
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