A view of trains on the platform at Waterloo Station as a station worker stands nearby, on the first day of national rail strike in London, Britain, June 21, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
London: Britain's rail network faced major disruption again on Wednesday as the staff walked out in a row over pay and conditions, the latest in a wave of industrial unrest as wages fail to keep pace with soaring inflation.
The 24-hour strike by more than 40,000 members of the RMT and TSSA unions forced around half of Britain's rail network to close, with train companies operating a much-reduced timetable and some parts of the country having no rail service at all.
About 80 percent of train trips were stopped by the early hours of this morning, with the workers of 15 railway companies going on strike, which caused travel disruption within and between cities, forcing millions of passengers to either use public buses, their own cars or stay to work from home, and the impact of the strike is expected to continue until the early hours of tomorrow morning Thursday.
In a statement, the Prime Ministry called on trade unions to call off the strike, saying that it was deeply concerned about the impact of the strike on the daily lives of citizens, while the Ministry of Transport said that the railway workers' union was determined to cause further suffering to passengers across Britain.
The rail workers' union has accused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of not allowing train operators to reach an agreement with unions on wage increases and improved working conditions.
About 5,500 railway workers at seven train operators are scheduled to return to work on Saturday, which will cause further disruption to travel at the weekend.
The train workers ' unions have decided to enter a new strike on August 18 and 20, while London Underground train workers will strike on August 19.
The trade unions demand to respond to the workers ' demands of raising wages by 7 percent, negotiating the number of jobs to be closed in the sector, and improving working conditions.
The companies had made an offer of a 3 percent wage increase in exchange for the Union and employees accepting job cuts and changes in working conditions.
Last month, train company workers staged the largest strike in the country's history in three decades, in order to press for the fulfillment of these demands, which at that time completely paralyzed the movement of movement and internal travel.
The government is seeking to reform the railway sector in a way that allows it to continue and not be subjected to significant financial pressures or bankruptcy, as well as seeking to reduce train tickets, which have seen significant increases over the past three years.
Most of the train line operating companies are not state-owned, with the exception of the train lines company Network Rail, and the government provided funding of 16 billion pounds to help train companies during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic when they saw a significant decline in their revenues due to the state of public closure.
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