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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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    Trains paralysed again in UK as unions stage more strikes

    LONDON (AP) – Thousands of train workers in Britain began a new round of strikes yesterday, paralysing rail service across the country in an escalating dispute over pay and working conditions exacerbated by a deepening cost-of-living crisis.

    Only around one in five trains ran across the United Kingdom (UK) as a result of the walkout by union members, who have already staged multiple strikes in recent months. A strike planned for Friday is expected to affect most of the London Underground subway network as well as bus service in the capital, while another walkout tomorrow is set to disrupt national train travel again.

    Leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union Mick Lynch, said rail workers, like other public sector employees in the UK, are struggling to cope with soaring food and fuel prices.

    The country’s inflation rate jumped to a new 40-year high of 10.1 per cent in July, official figures showed on Wednesday, higher than analysts’ central forecast of 9.8 per cent.

    Unions representing postal, port and aviation workers have also announced strikes as the cost-of-living crisis bites into wages.

    “People in this country are fed up with low pay. Many millions of people have not had a proper pay deal for decades,” Lynch said yesterday at the picket line in London’s Euston train station. “So public sector workers in health care, education, transport, all sort of services, have been subjected to pay cuts and rampant inflation.”

    He blamed the Conservative government’s alleged “anti-union agenda” for prolonging the labour dispute and said railway workers would continue job actions until a settlement is reached with train companies, which are privately owned by heavily regulated.

    Lynch alleged officials have used taxpayer funds to bail out the companies so they don’t lose income from strikes and thereby removed incentives for executives to negotiate.

    Passengers wait at a deserted London Euston train station, in London. PHOTO: AP
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