The fronts between unions and employers in Britain have tightened. The reluctance is great, especially on the railroad. The protest action may even extend.
The train drivers’ strike has once again blocked rail traffic in much of Britain. Thousands of Aslef drivers’ union have called for higher wages and greater job security. A strike at seven private rail companies on Saturday hit visitors at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, as well as dozens of football fans on their way to the season’s first game. It was only on Sunday morning that the consequences of the strike ceased to be felt.
Tens of thousands of members of the RMT railway union stopped working on Wednesday. Both unions again announced several strikes in August.
The conservative government was outraged by the protest action. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accused the unions of refusing necessary reforms and delaying collective bargaining at taxpayers’ expense. “Enough!” Shapps wrote in the Times (Saturday). Aslef General Secretary Mick Whelan accused the minister of lying and called him to mediate in the negotiations. RMT chief Mick Lynch previously threatened a general strike if the government implements its announced plans and restricts the unions’ right to strike.
The railroad union disappointed
The head of the Rail Delivery Group, Steve Montgomery, was disappointed with the strikes and defended planned austerity and cuts. “Like any service provider and business, we have to adapt and we must not keep asking taxpayers and passengers for more and more money, while instead we must respond to the huge changes in travel behavior after the pandemic,” Montgomery said.
But it’s not just Deutsche Bahn that employees are outraged by what they consider to be under-wage offers. Recently, employees of post offices and the BT telecommunications group have gone on strike. A strike is planned at Felixstowe, the main container port, and the garbage collection will be on strike for over two weeks in two areas of Greater London.
Consumers in the UK are suffering greatly from high inflation, which recently peaked in around 40 years, almost 10%. and will likely continue to grow. In October and again in January, already high energy costs are likely to explode again. The relevant supervisory authority then re-authorizes increases in electricity and gas prices.
The government decided to take several countermeasures. All households will receive a total of £ 400 (€ 476) in their energy bill. Critics consider this insufficient. (dpa)