UK New rail strikes for wages

UK: New rail strikes for wages

On Friday and Saturday, UK rail workers went on strike again to demand wage increases in the face of inflation after rejecting the revaluation proposals previously put forward by companies.

Conductors are on strike on Friday at the call of the Aslef union, while maintenance and inspection officers are on strike on Saturday at the call of the RMT union.

Railway companies have announced major disruptions and train cancellations.

This movement is the umpteenth episode of a social conflict that has been going on in the UK for months and does not just affect rail transport.

Nurses, paramedics, civil servants and other professionals have quit jobs for pay rises multiple times since the decline as the cost of living has skyrocketed for months with double-digit inflation.

While other less representative unions have ended their movement, Aslef and RMT have so far rejected proposals for a 4% pay rise this year (up from +4% to +5% last year) accompanied by changes in working conditions.

“We don’t want to go on strike… we don’t want to go that far, but after four years without a pay rise we feel we have no choice,” Union Secretary-General Aslef Mick Whelan told the BBC.

He accused the government of “bad faith”, “not talking to the unions” and tying the hands of companies in negotiations.

On May 31st and June 3rd the engine drivers want to decouple again.

Speaking to Sky News, Minister of State for Transport Huw Merriman, responsible for rail transport, estimated that the proposal on the table was “good enough”.

He also denounced the consequences of the strikes, which could affect the arrival of the public at the Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in Liverpool (northern England) on Saturday, and the arrival of Manchester City and Manchester United fans in London. 3 June for the final of FA Cup football.

“It’s really a shame to target cultural and sporting events, especially this one,” he said.

These new walkouts come the day after the announcement of the “temporary” resumption of government control over services operated by TransPennine Express company following a multiplication of delays and cancellations.

The unions made difficulties with the privatization of the railways in the 1990s, while the government blamed the behavior of the union Aslef.