London, Aug 19 (EFE).- Fresh strikes halted public transport in London Friday amid an ongoing dispute between union workers, transport operators and the government over pay and conditions.
The RMT transport union has organized strike action on Overground and Underground rail services, which handle up to five million passengers a day according to operator Transport for London (TfL), while some 63 bus routes were also out of service.
Friday’s was the latest in a series of strikes called by the RMT this summer amid a cost of living crisis in the United Kingdom with inflation up to double figures for the first time in 40 years. Inflation could top 13% by the end of the year from its current 10.1%, according to economic forecasts.
The RMT is opposed to plans by TfL to scrap hundreds of ticket offices and reform pension plans to save an estimated 100 million pounds (roughly $118.5) a year from 2025.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said in a statement released Thursday: “Tube bosses are having secret negotiations with the government about slashing jobs and undermining working conditions and pensions all in the name of removing subsidies.
“The government needs to stop trying to get services on the cheap by slashing jobs and wages and invest in what should be a world class transport network.”
On Friday, he told UK media he was “sorry” that commuters would face disruption in London but that union workers had to make “a stand.”
TfL director of operations Nick Dent told Sky News that it would be a “difficult day” for travel in London.
“We have done everything we can to avoid this strike going ahead today,” he added.EFE