The biggest rail strike in more than 30 years hit Britain

LONDON: Peak travelers in the UK faced chaos on Tuesday as rail workers launched the biggest strike in the network in more than three decades, with a cost of living crisis threatening wider industrial action.
The last strike to prevent a strike failed on Monday, meaning more than 50,000 members of the railway union RMT will leave in three days this week.
Train and London Metro stations closed on Tuesday morning, forcing people to either work from home or find alternative routes to the office.
Hordes of people waited at bus stops on the outskirts of London shortly after 6:00 a.m., but many gave up as services to the capital continued non-stop, now full.
Secretary of Transport Grant Shaps he said he was “sorry” for the strikes, which he said were causing “the bad old days of the 1970s”.
“The people who hurt are people who have to physically come to work, maybe with lower pay, maybe hospital cleaners,” he told Sky News.
“I am absolutely sorry for what they are doing today and there is no excuse for putting people on strike.”
But RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch described as “unacceptable” proposals to raise wages below inflation by both overhead train operators and the London Underground, which operates the metro in the capital.
Departures – also on Thursday and Saturday – risk causing significant disruptions to major events, including the Glastonbury Music Festival.
Schools warn that thousands of teenagers taking national exams will also be affected.
The strikes have been the biggest controversy on Britain’s rail network since 1989, according to RMT.
However, railway operators are warning about interruptions throughout the week, with only about 20 per cent of services being provided during interruptions, while lines not affected by strikes still have to cut services.
Members of the RMT in the London Underground additionally organized a 24-hour stop on the subway on Tuesday.
The union says the strikes are necessary as wages have failed to keep pace with inflation in the UK, which has reached a 40-year high and is on track to continue rising.
– Teachers, lawyers, NHS – Countries around the world have been affected by decades of high inflation as the war in Ukraine and the easing of Covid’s restrictions fueled rising energy and food prices.
The unions also warn that jobs in rail transport are in jeopardy, and passenger traffic will only fully recover once the blockage of the coronavirus pandemic is lifted.
The strikes exacerbated the wider travel chaos after airlines were forced to cut flights due to staff shortages, causing long delays and frustration for passengers.
Thousands of workers were laid off in the aviation industry during the pandemic, but the sector is now struggling to hire workers as demand for travel recovers after the blockade is lifted.
Other areas of the public sector will go on strike.
The Bar Association, representing senior lawyers in England and Wales, is voting on a strike next week over funding for legal aid.
Minister of Justice James Cartledge called the departure “disappointing”, given that the judiciary is already struggling with significant backlogs in pandemic cases.
Four weeks of action begin on Monday and Tuesday, increasing by one day each week to a five-day strike on July 18.
It is reported that the teaching staff and the workers in the state National Health Service are also considering a strike.
Several other transport unions are also voting for members for possible suspensions that may arise in the coming weeks.

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