Strikes paralysed Britain’s rail network on Thursday, as union leaders, train operators, and the government clashed over demands that workers’ pay rise in line with rising inflation.
Food and fuel price increases are straining many household budgets, prompting trade unions to demand higher pay raises for their members. To avoid an inflationary spiral, the government has urged wage restraint.
Picket lines were formed around rail stations for the second day this week, and unions threatened more industrial action unless a deal was reached to improve pay and avoid redundancies.
‘We’ll continue to talk to the companies about everything that’s been put on the table, and we’ll review it to see if and when a new phase of industrial action is required,’ Mick Lynch, secretary-general of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), told the BBC.
‘However, if we don’t reach an agreement, it’s very likely that there will be.’
Despite ongoing talks, a third day of strikes is scheduled for Saturday. Other industries are also considering strike action in what unions predict will be a ‘summer of discontent.’
The government has condemned the strikes, calling them counterproductive and especially harmful to low-income people who rely on public transportation and are unable to work from home.