Over 40,000 of the United Kingdom’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union members, including guards, catering staff, signalers and track maintenance workers are taking part in the country’s biggest rail strikes in 30 years.
UK railroad staff walked off the job at 12 midnight today and the walkouts will continue on Thursday and Saturday this week.
Only about 20% of passenger trains were scheduled to run today in the UK, affecting millions of passengers.
The United Kingdom’s (UK) National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers is currently in a dispute with the rail operators over pay, pensions and job cuts.
“The British worker needs a pay rise,” RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch said. “They need job security, decent conditions and a square deal in general. If we can get that we won’t have to have the disruption in the British economy that we’ve got now, and which may develop across the summer.”
The last-ditch talks between unions and operators, that are set to cut jobs, pay and pensions as rail passenger numbers have not returned to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, broke down on Monday, paving the way for labor action.
Andrew Haines, chief executive of UK operator Network Rail, said he was “profoundly sorry” to passengers for the disruption but blamed the RMT for not willing to compromise.
A separate strike also took place on the London Underground on Tuesday. There are warnings this could be just the start of a summer of strikes, with British teachers and nurses also threatening industrial action out of similar grievances.