UK: Rush-hour commuters in the United Kingdom faced chaos on Tuesday as railway workers launched the network’s biggest strike in more than three decades, forcing people to trek to work on foot, by bike, bus – or simply not bother at all.
The RMT rail union argues the strikes are necessary as wages have failed to keep pace with U.K. inflation, which has hit a 40-year high and is on course to keep rising.
Last-ditch talks to avert the work stoppage broke down on Monday, meaning more than 50,000 RMT members will walk out for three days this week.
Train and London Underground stations, normally a sea of people for the morning rush to work, were deserted or even locked, with just a skeleton service running on many networks across the country. Passengers were warned not to travel all week, with two more days of strike action scheduled for Thursday and Saturday wreaking havoc to schedules.
In London, cab firms reported a surge in demand, while main roads were packed with buses and cars, with cyclists weaving in between.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, addressing his Cabinet, urged “the union barons to sit down with Network Rail and the train companies” to thrash out a deal. The strikes are the biggest dispute on Britain’s railway network since 1989, according to the RMT. Other areas of the public sector meanwhile are also set to hold strikes.
– THE HINDU