The strikes will spread to the United Kingdom unless the government keeps its promise to create a high-wage economy, the leader of the country’s main organized labor movement warned.
Francis O’Grady, secretary general of the Congress of Trade Unions, said workers across the country supported the striking railway workers and in some cases would keep their own “justice pay” ballots.
The government is prepared for a summer of discontent, with unions taking steps to do so industrial activities on behalf of workers ranging from doctors, nurses and local government officials to overseers and postal workers.
Over the weekend, criminal lawyers voted to step up legal aid action and plan to leave for a few days in each of the next four weeks.
The TUC will not rule out coordinating action, O’Grady said, but added: “The point is that workers are coordinating, not because of some deliberate strategy, but because millions are now facing low pay, insecurity and real cuts in their pay packages. . So, of course, workers who think they have no choice will vote. ”
Ministers are keen to keep public sector wage increases to just 2 per cent, although the Bank of England forecasts inflation to reach 11 per cent by October.
Although the government insists it still wants a “high-wage and high-growth economy”, Simon Clark, secretary of the finance ministry, told the BBC on Monday that public sector workers should not expect increases in line with inflation.
On Tuesday, 40,000 Network Rail employees at 13 train operators have to leave due to wage disputes and layoffs, with subsequent suspensions on Thursday and Saturday.
All major UK train lines are expected to be disrupted, including LNER, Avanti West Coast and many rail lines, as well as the London Underground. It will probably last in the days between the official strikes.
Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, an industrial body, said the organization still hopes to avoid a strike. “Obviously we’re talking to the unions again today, but we need to try to work together to try to stop this.”
As an indication of the reduction in the UK’s low expectations regarding the railway negotiations and the prospect of other industrial action over the summer, Kvassi Quartengbusiness secretary plans this week to lift the legal ban on the use of temporary workers to replace striking staff.
Kwarteng intends to repeal the 1973 ban by approving so-called secondary legislation – laws that the minister can approve due to powers delegated to them by other acts of parliament.
While rail groups have welcomed the 1973 plan to reject the law – an unfulfilled promise from the 2015 Conservative manifesto – the move is likely to ease the pressure on the shortage of staff in low-skilled roles as cleaners and station workers. It will take effect in mid-July.
The RMT railway union said it would be impossible to manage the network of agency workers, especially since the biggest disruption is expected to be caused by the departure of signaling staff who do not change easily.
Mick Lynch, RMT’s secretary general, said it would be “absolutely impossible” to use agency staff to maintain the railroad.
The union warns that the strike – the largest in more than 30 years – will continue until demands for payment are met. RMT members voted for a six-month strike in May, leaving more strikes in the summer and fall.
The opposition Labor Party has called on the government to hold final talks with unions to prevent strikes.
Louise Hay, secretary of transport in the shadows, told BBC Radio 4 today program that the government has failed to set a mandate for employers to negotiate.
“They are not only boycotting the talks, they are actually hampering them. . . it is imperative that they intervene. “