Will Britain’s Rail Strike Impact Your Summer Plans?
Strike plans could even stall Glastonbury!
Britain is set for its biggest National rail strike in decades. The strike is planned for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week, meaning that millions of Brits will face likely disruption to their summer plans.
Rail staff are walking out of their jobs this week after voicing their frustration with stagnant wages and proposed job losses. The dire situation has been perpetuated by the hike in living costs that Rishi Sunak and the Tories announced earlier on this year. Over 40,000 rail staff workers will take part in the strike, which is the disruption to the rail and transport industry since 1989, back in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s era.
The scale of the exercise, in which 13 rail companies will take part, means a terrible blow for the Conservative Party, which is already weak in the polls. Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, predictably slated the unions, branding them as “militant.” Addressing the chaos, Shapps said, “I think it’s a huge act of self-harm to go on strike at the moment.” In the Sky News interview, he continued, “I don’t believe workers are anywhere near as militant as their unions who are leading them up a garden path: they’re gunning for the strike. It’s completely unnecessary. There’s a sensible pay deal.”
However, the unions hit back, defending rail staff who have been consistently undervalued. Frances O Grady, TUC General Secretary argued that there was “no other option.” In an interview with the BBC, she pled, “Many rail staff who will be hit hardest – such as caterers and cleaners – are on low and average earnings. It’s insulting to ask them to take yet another real-terms pay cut when rail companies took £500 million in profits during the pandemic.” The arguments supporting the strikers are compelling. Everyone has the right to voice their dissatisfaction with companies that do not treat their staff fairly. Although, public support is split on the matter, as the essence of a strike is to cause public chaos, to achieve concessions.
The plans are likely to scupper festival-goers this weekend, as the chosen three days happen to take place on the same weekend as Glastonbury, in which an estimated 200,000 people will aim to make their way to the Southwest of the country. “I can’t get excited about Glastonbury because I’m so stressed about the train strikes,” says one frustrated ticketholder to the Independent Newspaper.
The three-day strikes are likely to have a significant impact on those wishing to travel in the coming weeks, with those looking to travel to airports being amongst the most affected. It is important to bear in mind the reasons why strikes take place when experiencing personal repercussions – even though they can be incredibly frustrating and inconvenient.
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