PHOTO / The biggest railway strike in 30 years started in Britain today
Britain's largest rail strike in 30 years kicks off today as tens of thousands of workers leave their jobs over a dispute over wages, working conditions and safety as Britain's rail network struggles to emerge from the hardships caused by coronavirus pandemic.
The more than 40,000 railway workers who will go on strike today, Thursday and Saturday left their work centers early in the morning, leaving the railway network blocked and the main stations empty. The London Underground was also largely closed due to another strike.
"We are in a position where we can not afford to sacrifice pensions, our conditions, our salaries, because the damage to the economy during the pandemic was not caused by us. We worked like everyone else. Same as people working from home while we just kept working regularly. "It's not up to us to pay the price," said Jane Gwynn, a railroad worker.
Under pressure to do more to help British families, who are facing the worst economic shock in decades, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the strike would hurt businesses as they continue to emerge from the pandemic.
The unions have said the rail strike could mark the start of another wave of strikes over the summer with teachers, doctors, garbage workers and even lawyers planning strikes as rising food and fuel prices pushed inflation to nearly 10 %.
A YouGov poll earlier this month found that public opinion on the strikes was divided, with about half of those polled opposing and just over a third supporting it.
"If they are unhappy, then they will take such action. But it's definitely a national problem. So it affects us all. And it's definitely not just their industry, their healthcare, everyone's. So it's a bigger problem to be seen I think not only in this industry ", says Duncan Docker, human resources worker from London.
The British economy was initially revived strongly by the pandemic, but a combination of labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, inflation and post-Brexit trade problems are bringing warnings of recession.
The government says it is providing additional support to millions of poor families, but adds that raising wages above inflation would undermine the foundations of the economy.
Numri i punonjësve britanikë që janë anëtarë të sindikatave është përgjysmuar që nga vitet 1970, pjesërisht për shkak të ndryshimeve të bëra nga ish-kryeministrja konservatore Margaret Thatcher për të kufizuar fuqinë e sindikatave dhe për ta bërë më të vështirë thirrjen e një greve.
Ministri i Transportit Grant Shapps tha se qeveria do të ndryshojë ligjin sa më shpejt të jetë e mundur për të detyruar operatorët e trenave të ofrojnë një shërbim minimal në ditët e grevës dhe të lejojë punëtorët e tjerë të zëvendësojnë përkohësisht ata që janë larguar.
Grevat vijnë pasi udhëtarët në aeroportet britanike përjetojnë vonesa kaotike dhe anulime të minutës së fundit për shkak të mungesës së personelit, ndërsa shumë britanikë duhet të presin me muaj për të marrë pasaporta të reja për shkak të vonesave.
The rail strike means that only about half of Britain's rail network will operate on strike days with very limited service and ongoing outages.