UK’s biggest rail strike in 30 years to go ahead — Analysis
After weeks of futile negotiations with employers about pay and benefits, the announcement was made.
One of Britain’s fastest growing labor unions announced on Saturday that a series of planned strikes on the rail network and London Tube next week will be held. This is likely to be the largest walkout in railway history.
The labor union released a statement after weeks of negotiations between Rail Maritime and Transport Workers and Network Rail and their employers. It was about pay and benefits. “no viable settlements to the disputes have been created.”
The union accused the Conservative government of “transport austerity.” According to the RMT, cutting £4 billion of funding from Britain’s transport system resulted in decreased benefits for workers, job cuts, worsening working practices and even pay cuts.
“In the face of this massive attack on our people the RMT cannot be passive. So today, having heard the reports on the discussions that have been taking place we are confirming that the strike action scheduled to take place on 21st, 23rd and 25th June will go ahead,”Announcement of the union
RMT expects that the strike, expected to be the most significant on the network in years since 1989, will see more than 50.000 of its members working for Network Rail and 13 railway operating companies.
The RMT stressed that “every worker in Britain deserves a pay rise that reflects the cost-of-living crises.”
“We urge our members not to back down, to join the strike, to organize pickets, and to demonstrate their determination to fight for workplace justice.” the union said.
The Department of Transport expressed its disappointment over the RMT’s decision and called on the union to reconsider and return to negotiations.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, when asked on Friday about the planned action, said that it was “It is unnecessary” and would cause “massive damage” to the capital’s economy. However, he also criticized the government’s “Divisive politics,” which, in his opinion, prompted the protests.
Ahead of what had been an expected announcement by the RMT, Steve Montgomery, chair of the Rail Delivery Group, an industry body for passenger and freight operators, condemned the planned strike, calling it “It can be very damaging.”
“Strikes will have an impact on millions of train passengers every day. These include key workers, student with exams, employees who are unable to work remotely, holidaymakers, as well as those involved in important business and leisure events.,” Montgomery said.
The dispute between the RMT and the employers came as the Confederation of British Industry warned of a looming “Household recession.” Analysts with the business organization estimate that due to high inflation, prompted by growing energy prices and geopolitical turmoil, real household disposable incomes will drop by 2.3% by the end of the year, which would mark the largest annual decline since record-keeping began in the mid-1950s.
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