Railway workers in the UK have announced strike action in a dispute over pay, job security and work conditions as the country faces critical standstill.
The ASLEF train drivers’ union – representing 96 per cent of the train drivers in England, Scotland, and Wales – and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) are planning a walkout in October as workers struggle to cope with the escalating cost of living.
Workers at Royal Mail Plc and dockers in the ports of Felixstowe and Liverpool are already due to stage protests.
The RMT announced a 24-hour walkout on 1 October set to bring railway to an effective standstill after the union reportedly received no further offers to help come to a negotiated settlement.
“Transport workers are joining a wave of strike action on 1 October, sending a clear message to the government and employers that working people will not accept continued attacks on pay and working conditions at a time when big business profits are at an all-time high” said RMT General Secretary, Mick Lynch.
“The Summer of Solidarity we have seen will continue into the Autumn and Winter if employers and the government continue to refuse workers reasonable demands.
“We want a settlement to these disputes where our members and their families can get a square deal. And we will not rest until we get a satisfactory outcome.”
READ: US railroads reach last-minute deal to avert strike
ASLEF on its part announced railway strike action on 1 and 5 October.
A walkout had been previously scheduled for 15 September but immediately postponed as a mark of respect after the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September.
The union said it has successfully negotiated pay deals with nine train companies this year and is now in dispute only with those who failed to provide a reasonable settlement.
“We would much rather not be in this position. We don’t want to go on strike – withdrawing your labour, although a fundamental human right, is always a last resort for this trade union – but the train companies have been determined to force our hand,” said ASLEF General Secretary, Mick Whelan.
“They are telling train drivers to take real terms pay cut. With inflation now running at 12.3 per cent – and set, it is said, to go higher – these companies are saying that drivers should be prepared to work just as hard, for just as long, but for considerably less.
“The companies with whom we are in dispute have not offered us a penny. It is outrageous that they expect us to put up with real terms pay cut for a third year in a row.
“And that’s why we are going on strike. To persuade the companies to be sensible, to do the right thing, and come and negotiate properly with us.”
Planned strike action is also expected to cause disruption to the annual Conservative Party conference starting on 2 October.
Since June, RMT members have walked out for a total of six days over the same demands, joining thousands of UK workers who have been struggling with rising inflation.