Business & Economy

Britons face more travel disruption as over 40,000 workers join rail strike

London, Aug 20 (EFE).- Britons faced a third day of travel disruption with over 40,000 railway workers joining a fresh strike on Saturday to protest job cuts and changes to labor conditions and to call for better wages as the United Kingdom grapples with its worst inflation in decades.

The strike action comes after railway and London underground services were disrupted on Thursday and Friday respectively.

Only 20% of rail services will be operational between 06:30 and 17:30 GMT, but some routes in the country will not have any services at all.

Organizers estimate that of the 20,000 transport services they offer daily, only 4,300 will be operational throughout the UK.

The strike action has been backed by members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union, who work across 14 railway companies, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) union members working in seven companies and Unite, a union that represents various sectors, including transport and construction.

RMT said Saturday that the industrial action was in response to the “stalemate” in negotiations between workers and employers.

The union added further protests would likely ensue after a deal was not reached between the parties.

This is the fifth strike transport unions have called for this summer.

RMT has accused Downing Street of pressuring transport companies not to implement wage increases of over 2%, even though inflation has rocketed to over 10%.

According to the most recently published official data, the UK’s consumer price index stood at 10.1% in July, compared to 9.4% in June, making it the highest level in over 40 years.

Soaring electricity and gas prices are fuelling the CPI spike, as well as a rise in the cost of transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The Bank of England recently raised interest rates from 1.25% to 1.75% in a bid to rein in inflation and warned that rates could reach 13% before the end of the year.

The bank also warned the UK could be heading for a recession in the last quarter of 2022 and that the economic crisis could spill into 2023. EFE


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