UK rail network paralyzed by biggest strike in 30 years

Railway workers man a picket line at Liverpool Lime Street Station. [Paul Ellis/AFP]

In the United Kingdom, tens of thousands of railway workers have walked off the job, bringing the train network to a halt in the country's worst transportation strike over three decades.

Approximately 40,000 cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers, and station staff held a 24-hour walkout, with two additional 24-hour strikes planned for Thursday and Saturday. On Tuesday, London subway services were again disrupted by a strike, adding to the misery of passengers.

As British railways struggle to recover from the coronavirus outbreak, the disagreement centers on salary, working conditions, and job security.

Before March, there were around 1 billion train rides in the United Kingdom. However, this is much below pre-COVID-19 levels, and train firms, which have been kept afloat by government aid for the past two years, are attempting to cut expenses and personnel.

On Tuesday morning, approximately twenty percent of passenger trains were expected to operate, leaving major terminals empty.

Monday's last-minute negotiations failed to produce a resolution. The Train, Maritime, and Transport Union said it would not accept the 3 percent raise offered by rail companies, which is much below the current inflation rate of 9 percent.

The union accuses the Conservative government of denying train companies the flexibility to grant a significant salary boost.

The government has stated that it is not involved in the negotiations but has cautioned that significant salary increases will create a wage-price cycle that will increase inflation.

Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, accused unions of "harming the very people they claim to help" and urged for a "reasonable compromise for the benefit of the British people and the rail workforce."

Publish : 2022-06-21 16:40:00

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