LONDON – Britain was paralyzed on Tuesday morning by its biggest railway strike in three decades, blocking trains across the country, disrupting travel plans for millions of Britons and visitors, and what union leaders said Warned that it may start to end. Summer of labor unrest.
After the final negotiations between the main union and the railway operator ended on Monday night, most trains stopped for the first three days of the strike. Most train services will also be suspended on Thursdays and Saturdays, with delays and disruptions throughout the week.
In London, workers in the underground system went on strike on Tuesday in a separate wage dispute that threatened to cut off much of the capital. Buses kept running, and there was some skeleton train service.
The strikes are a major test for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has called on unions to compromise on their wage demands at such a time. Corona virus epidemic Ride and ticket revenues are well below normal levels.
So far, the government has refused to intervene directly in the negotiations between the unions and Network Rail, which manages the country’s railway system, as well as between privatized train operators.
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But with Rising food and fuel prices And with wages failing to keep pace, Mr Johnson will face troubled workers in a number of industries. Teachers, airline employees and criminal defense lawyers are among those threatening to quit.
The Central Railway Union, the National Union of Railways, the Maritime and Transport Workers, also known as the RMT, are demanding a pay rise in line with living expenses. At a war news conference on Monday, the union’s general secretary, McLinch, blamed the government’s “dead hand” for the stalemate.
A day earlier, Mr Lynch told Sky News that a deal should have been struck in December, when the retail price index, a measure of inflation, was 7%. Since then, the annual rate has risen to 11.1% in April, the highest since 1982.
In remarks released by Downing Street on Monday night, Mr Johnson accused RMT of trying to pass up unacceptable fares to passengers and preserve Victorian-era working methods.
“The unions are hurting the people they claim to be helping,” he said. “Going forward with these rail strikes, they are driving away passengers who ultimately support the jobs of rail workers, while also affecting businesses and communities across the country.”
Mr Johnson said: “Even higher pay demands will make it incredibly difficult for families around the world to meet the current challenges of rising living costs.” “It’s time to dump her and move on.”
Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party faces crucial parliamentary elections on Thursday for the two seats that remain open, and strikes have become increasingly political. The opposition Labor Party has accused the Conservative government of failing to break the deadlock. The Conservatives said Labor was happy with the walkout, which would hurt millions and hamper Britain’s recovery from the epidemic.
In Wakefield, where elections are taking place in one of the two districts, a large local bus company has already been on strike for several days.
The UK is hitting countries around the world with rising prices and falling wages. Adjusted for inflation, wages are falling at the fastest pace in more than a decade – an issue that is likely to get worse as prices continue to rise and spread to more goods and services. Is.
Oil, natural gas, wheat and fertilizer prices have risen since the global supply chain disruption, epidemics and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fuel and food prices are rising at a rate not seen in decades. In the UK, income pressures have forced reluctant governments to provide financial assistance to families.
Economists fear that the cost of living will limit consumer spending, put weak businesses at risk and plunge the economy into recession. The first three months of the year saw signs of weakness in the UK economy.
At the same time, policymakers are concerned about rising prices that they are infiltrating the economy, as companies raise their prices due to higher costs and workers demand higher wages.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said earlier this year that “restraint” was needed in wage negotiations, otherwise inflation would worsen, especially among high earners.
In addition, industries have deprived workers of illness or other jobs during epidemics, leading to severe staff shortages. In London, Heathrow and other airports are asking carriers to cancel flights during the summer travel season due to a shortage of baggage handlers and other workers.
Employers are competing for staff with bonuses and wage increases, but workers are not realizing the benefits because inflation consumes those extra benefits. Other unions, including teachers and representatives representing National Health Service workers, have threatened to go on strike if wage agreements do not keep pace with inflation.