LONDON (AP) – Unions and train companies in Britain are set to hold last-minute talks Monday amid fading hopes of averting the country´s biggest rail strikes for decades.
Three days of strike action is planned for cleaners, signalers and maintenance staff this week. It will take place on Tuesday and Thursday.
This strike could result in the closure of the railway network throughout the country. London Underground services will also be affected.
As Europe’s population grows, so too are the living standards of millions of Brits. Salaries have not kept pace with inflation, which has hit 9% and is forecast to rise further, as Russia´s war in Ukraine squeezes supplies of energy and food staples including wheat. The strong demand for consumer goods and the recovery of the COVID-19 epidemic had already led to prices rising prior to the war.
However, U.K. passenger counts are lower than pre-pandemic levels. Train companies also seek to decrease costs and reduce staffing.
The talks on how to solve the dispute are stalled and the unions call on the government. They accuse Prime Minister Boris Johnson´s Conservative administration of standing on the sidelines so it can blame unions, and the left-of-center opposition Labour Party, for the disruption.
The unions claim that the government sets the rules and operates Network Rail as well as the infrastructure operator, but hasn’t given enough flexibility for the companies to provide a significant pay raise.
Simon Clarke is Treasury Minister “this is a matter between the employers – the train operating companies and Network Rail – and the trade unions.”
His words were: “Workers should be given the opportunity to learn.” “a sensible pay increase,”But a too large raise could cause inflation to spiral higher.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, said he anticipated other sectors striking later in the year.
“I think there are going to be many unions that are balloting across the country because people can´t take it anymore,”Sky News was informed by him. “We´ve got people doing full-time jobs who are having to take state benefits and use food banks. That is a national disgrace.”
Heathrow Airport requested that airlines departing from Terminals 2 or 3 cut down on flights Monday to add more pain to British travel. After Friday’s revelations about a massive backlog at London Airport, Heathrow requested that the airlines cancel 10% of their flights on Monday.
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