Labor & Workforce

UK commuters face more disruption with 5-day rail strike

London, Jan 3 (EFE).- British railway workers began another strike on Tuesday in an ongoing pay dispute that has plunged the United Kingdom into a state of chaos amid a wave of strikes across several sectors and soaring inflation.

Members of the British Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, who work for Network Rail and 14 other train operators, began a five-day walkout on Tuesday as people return to work after the Christmas holidays.

Employees from other sectors have also joined the industrial action to demand wage increases to cope with the sharp increase in the cost of living in the UK, where inflation jumped to 10.7% in November.

Railway workers are demanding a 7% wage increase, but Network Rail has only offered a 5% raise, which is below the current inflation rate.

RMT union chief, Mick Lynch, told the BBC he apologized for the strikes “dragging on”, but said the government was “doing nothing” to resolve the dispute.

“I’ve set out to them (the government) the sort of moves that we need to do. The companies know what’s involved,” Lynch said.

“But in effect, the government torpedoed talks to train operating company by putting conditions into the documentation that they know we can never accept,” the union chief added.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, told the BBC a new and improved offer had been turned down by the trade unions.

“I would much rather they got off the picket line and got back round the negotiating table to hammer out a deal on reform and pay with the employers,” Harper said. EFE


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