Two unions representing workers in Britain’s transport sector, RMT and TSSA, called a UK-wide strike on Wednesday over longstanding dissatisfaction over wages, working conditions and workplace safety.
As a result of the interruption of work, rail traffic has stopped completely in several parts of the country, and the last trains leave from several stations in London between 2 and 4 pm.
Britain’s concessional rail network has taken a sudden hit in traffic since the coronavirus pandemic subsided; In the past two years during the pandemic, railway companies have propped themselves up with state support, However, with the lifting of health measures and the revival of tourism, workers are no longer able to carry out tasks related to daily traffic.
Government-run infrastructure company Network Rail – which maintains many railways in England, Scotland and Wales, and whose workers also joined a strike on Wednesday – has offered union RMT a four per cent wage increase after negotiations that are now deadlocked, A further four percent increase is mentioned if employees accept to amend certain points of their contract.
In a statement, RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Network Rail has not made any changes to its latest pay raise offer and the rail companies have not brought us anything new.” For these reasons, union members are “more determined than ever to obtain an adequate wage increase and improve safety in the workplace and other conditions.”
This situation is not helped by the fact that the population of Great Britain is currently suffering from 9.4 per cent inflation, real wages that have stagnated for more than a decade and the worst living crisis in decades.
Grant Shapps, Britain’s transport minister, accused unions of “disrupting the daily lives of millions of hard-working people across the country” and condemned the timing of Wednesday’s strike, which he said was deliberately timed to coincide with the European Championship semi-finals. Women’s Football Championship, and with the start of the Commonwealth Games.
Public opinion is divided over the transport workers’ strike. The BBC reports on the British public media news page that many people sympathize with the railway workers and support the movement, however, many passengers were not informed of Wednesday’s cancellations in advance, and as a result plans are not limited only to those who go to work , but also vacationers and tourists were upset.
In the wake of last month’s strikes, the government recently amended the law to allow employers to hire temporary workers to take over the work of striking workers, reducing the negative effects of the work stoppage.
Cover Photo: Getty Images
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