In the most recent strike hit UK action by workers across a number of sectors in protest at the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, UK train employees disrupted the New Year’s Day return to work on Tuesday.
Workers from all sectors of the economy are at odds with the government because they want significant pay increases to deal with the long-term high inflation rate, which is currently at around 11%.
On Tuesday, the first regular working day of 2023 following the New Year holiday, the normally busy London train terminals was quiet.
The UK’s rail infrastructure is run by Network Rail, which has issued a warning to passengers about “seriously reduced” or nonexistent train service in some locations until Sunday.
Two 48-hour strikes by about 40,000 RMT union members were scheduled to take place over the course of five days starting on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the Aslef union will also go on strike.
The shutdown, according to author Richard Roques, was “very inconvenient,” but he acknowledged that the rail workers were defending their livelihoods.
However, a different person, retiree Mike Farrelly, said he understood the government’s stance “in that there’s only so much money to go around.” He added that health workers should be treated as a special issue, saying, “I feel that a lot of the strikers are relatively well paid.”
Mark Harper, the secretary of transportation, asked the rail unions to resume talks.
He told Sky News that the trade union’s decision to strike hit UK this week is “very unhelpful, undermines the train business, and damages the interests of the people who work in it.”
“I want to see them back at the table so we can try to work out a settlement between the companies and the unions,” the speaker said.
However, the RMT union claimed that in order to prevent a settlement in December, the government had meddled in the talks. Harper rejects the assertion.