Great Britain was brought to a standstill on Tuesday by the largest public transport strike in 30 years. Hungarian nation. According to union leaders, this could be “the start of a summer of labor unrest” as the transport sector is only just beginning. Airline workers, teachers and criminal defense attorneys, among others, are demanding “fair wages” that are commensurate with the cost of living. The rail strike affecting England, Wales and Scotland was launched by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).
Half of the RMT’s approximately 83,000 members did not go to work on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, causing pay negotiations to fail. Due to maintenance work deviating from the schedule, traffic is not expected to be disrupted on other days as well.
Due to the strike, instead of 20,000 flights, only 4,500 are operated and they are operated only between 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. London Underground is also closed on Tuesdays. Passengers across the country were asked to travel only in cases of emergency.
The union demanded the retention of all workers, better working conditions, higher pensions and a seven to 8 percent pay rise from Network Rail, the state-owned company that owns the country’s rail system, and privatized rail operators, but they were willing to give. Two and one percent salary increase.
Mick Lynch, chairman of the RMT, said the offer of a total pay rise of three per cent was unacceptable. For example, he pointed out that track maintenance workers earn between 16,000 and 34,000 pounds a year – while the national average wage was almost 26,000 pounds (about ten million forints) last year.
For now, the government is not ready to intervene directly in the negotiations, with the state transport secretary, Network Rail, responsible for the matter. At the same time, the opposition Labor Party is pushing for government intervention and establishing a deal rather than boycotting the talks.
The Conservatives reminded the railway sector of the £16bn bailout during the coronavirus and called for it to modernize and become self-sustaining. At the same time, railway operators said that passenger traffic is now down by a fifth, which has reduced revenues.
In a statement released by Downing Street on Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson blamed the chaos resulting from the RMT.
Rail strikes drive away commuters and cost businesses across the country
– he said.
– Ever-increasing fee demands will not help in curbing the rise in cost of living. It is time to find a fair compromise in the interests of the British people and railway workers – the British Prime Minister reiterated his position at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The strike comes at a particularly bad time for the Conservatives, with two parliamentary constituencies holding by-elections on Thursday. According to the latest polls, the ruling party will almost certainly lose in one and expect a close contest in the other. Losing both seats would be a serious loss for Boris Johnson, who has survived a recent confidence vote, but in UGO’s June poll, 69 percent of respondents believed he was doing a poor job. Additionally, in his view, the wage demands came at a time when passenger numbers and ticket revenue were lower than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cover photo: A passenger hangs at an empty Euston train station in London on June 21, 2022, as a strike begins in Britain’s public transport sector (MTI/AP/PA/Stefan Rousseau).
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