Rail workers in the United Kingdom started the new year with a weeklong strike that began on Tuesday, Jan. 3, with union bosses warning of more industrial actions to come if negotiations don’t bear any fruits.
These rail strikes have been ongoing for months across the U.K. as soaring inflation and stagnant wage growth have made the paychecks of rail workers shrink drastically.
As a result, around half of all railway lines in the U.K. are currently closed, and only a fifth of rail services are running on time. Train services like those going into London operated by Thameslink, Southern and Southeastern, have come to a complete halt. Other rail operations like Great Western Rail are running heavily reduced services.
Train drivers represented by the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) and other rail workers represented by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have walked out of the job and set up picket lines following unresolved disputes with rail companies and the British government over pay, benefits and working conditions. (Related: Brandon preparing to pay off unions using tens of billions of taxpayer dollars with massive pension bailouts.)
“The longer this goes on, the likelihood of escalations goes up,” warned ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan, who recently received a renewed mandate from union members to keep conducting strike actions up until June. “We don’t want to go on strike, but the companies have pushed us into this place.”
“We will continue our industrial action campaign while we work towards a negotiated resolution,” said RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch in a statement.
Whelan and other union leaders are expected to meet with government ministers on Monday, Jan. 9, where the elected officials will be urged to play a bigger part in negotiations to help the workers reach an agreeable settlement with railway companies.
The government has urged union leaders to come to the negotiating table with government officials, who say they have offered them a “very fair pay offer.” Government officials have rejected the possibility of providing any more intervention, saying if the rail workers want a better deal it will ultimately be down to the rail companies to make that offer.
Stranded commuters sympathetic but frustrated
Passengers interviewed by Euronews noted that while they were sympathetic to the demands of workers, they still feel frustrated by the strike actions.
“Well, it’s really inconvenient for us, but this is about their livelihoods and it’s about safety,” said one passenger in London. “So we are impacted as people who travel on trains and it’s uncomfortable and difficult, but it already is difficult because of the way that the management have treated them. I think they should at least speak to them and respect them as workers who deserve a living wage.”
Others have pointed out that the strike’s leaders, such as Lynch and Whelan, are themselves very wealthy and have not been affected by the strikes the way regular people have been.
“I’ve got no support for them whatsoever. No sympathy. NHS [National Health Service] absolutely, the RMT and obviously that Mick Lynch is on 120,000 [pounds] ($142,345) a year. He won’t lose any pay today,” said another commuter.
Visit Revolt.news for more stories about railroad strikes.
Watch this episode of “Truth Matters” on Amazing Discoveries discussing the history of labor unions and how today’s unions may have been co-opted by the New World Order.
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