UK rail workers stage biggest strike in 30 years

SOPA Images via Getty Images LONDON, UK – 06/05/2022: Travelers are seen in the yard of Kings Cross railway station. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images via Getty Images

Transport – empty stations, deserted sidewalks, completely deserted halls. British railway workers began a three-day strike on jobs and wages on Tuesday, declared the largest in thirty years. In the program, one of two lines was closed and four out of five trains removed:

The Great Hall of London’s King’s Cross station received a small crowd on Tuesday morning, rather than the usual rush hour rush.

Few travelers saw the billboards here and there, looking for information on the few trains in circulation. Travelers who mostly understood the railway workers’ strike.

Desert vibes at London Bridge or other stations and train stations across the country, as you can see in the tweets below.

“I have to travel around the country for my job. So today I have to go to Leeds (North). There are not as many trains as usual, but I managed it,” photographer Jim Stevens, 40, told AFP. .

Etonné du calme de la gare, il estime que les gens ont suivi les consignes du TfL, l’opérateur des transports publics de Londres, et sont restés travailler chez eux autant que possible, “ou alors ont pris leur leur vélo”, The bus.

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After negotiations failed in the last hour, the two sides stuck to their positions on Tuesday. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps spoke again on Sky News of the “useless” strike. “We will have to make these reforms no matter what,” he said.

The RMT union warned in early June that more than 50,000 railway employees would be out of work “during the biggest sectoral conflict since 1989” and major privatizations of the sector, calling in particular for wage increases in line with accelerating inflation.

The bazaar set up by the government

In addition to wages, RMT denounces deteriorating working conditions and “thousands of layoffs” planned, he says, by the countless private companies that make up the UK rail sector.

Grant Shapps argues that there is a salary offer “on the table” — insufficient for RMT — and that “job cuts are generally voluntary.”

The minister says that in the future he is considering “protection” for users of public transport, such as “minimum service” or replacing strikers, particularly with temporary workers.

“This chaos is caused by Grant Shapps and government policy,” RMT Secretary General Mike Lynch responded.

Tuesday will be the biggest day of mobilization, because London Underground employees are also called to strike. Transport for London has warned that the strike will continue on Thursday and Saturday, but disruption will be felt every day until Sunday.

For Britons, it will add to the chaos at airports in recent weeks, which have been marked by long queues and hundreds of flight cancellations, as the sector struggles to recruit amid a recovery in demand after health restrictions were lifted.

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A blow threatens to spread

The government is scheduled to meet on Tuesday. Since last week, the CEO has reiterated that this strike will affect countless Britons who are barred from going to work or medical appointments, and will affect the accounts of small and medium-sized businesses already battered by Covid-19.

The strike also threatens to disrupt major sporting and cultural events, such as the Glastonbury Music Festival (southwest of England), the Rolling Stones concert in London on Saturday and final exams for some high school students.

The government says unions are shooting themselves as the rail sector, which has benefited from £16 billion in grants to help it deal with declining revenues during the pandemic, risks seeing passenger numbers decline sustainably as remote work develops.

The strike could extend to other modes of transport or other sectors, such as education, health and the post. Some lawyers have already voted to withdraw next week, in a dispute with the government over the amount of legal aid.

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