What is the reason for the rail strikes in London?
After the rail strikes in London, what alternative methods have passengers resorted to?
What was Boris Johnson’s reaction to the rail strikes in London?
Why have taxi fares increased in the UK in recent days?
Thousands of rail workers in UK have been on a massive and crippling strike in England, Scotland, and Wales since Tuesday over pay in what is said to be an unprecedented strike in more than three decades.
Uncertainty for Train Passengers
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the UK faces its biggest strike by railway workers in more than 30 years. Train passengers in the UK must be prepared for long waiting times during these rail strikes. More than 50,000 workers will go on strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday according to the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT). This is the largest strike in British rail transport in more than 30 years. On Tuesday, employees of the London Underground also want to stage a walkout for 24 hours. Tens of thousands of signallers, maintenance and train staff went on strike on Tuesday, the first day of UK’s biggest rail strike. Disruptions are expected for passengers as unions and the government did not back down on their pay negotiations.
The Reason for Rail Strikes
The reason for this industrial action is the failed negotiations on salary increases. According to RMT, the union had called for a 7.1% pay rise for employees in December due to high inflation rates. Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has strongly criticised the rail strikes, saying that the union is punishing millions of innocent people instead of calmly discussing the necessary reforms. There has been no such thing in the UK since the great wave of strikes in the late 1970s. Not only the national rail transport, but also the London underground has been affected by the strike as only a quarter of trains will run.
Boris Johnson Reacts to Rail Strikes
Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the public on notice for further strike action as Downing Street said it would “not give in” to demands from the railway unions. The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The prime minister’s view is it is in the long-term interest of both the country and the public to not give in to some of these demands which would stop us being able to modernise the railways.” “Despite the best efforts of our negotiators no viable settlements to the disputes have been created.” said Mick Lynch, RMT’s general secretary. In a statement, he blamed the British Minister for Transport for cutting billions of pounds from the public transport budget, claiming that he was trying to cut thousands of jobs in the country’s railway network.
The Possibility of a Strike by Other Unions in London
Thousands of union members marched in central London on Saturday. NHS teachers and practitioners in solidarity with the rail strikes in London also threatened to stop work. Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, estimates that the rail strike could cut UK’s gross domestic product by 0.4% in June. The British economy also slowed in April. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, under pressure to help Britons facing the worst economic downturn in decades, said the strike in London was hurting businesses that had not yet recovered from the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Streets of London are Too Crowded
During the busy morning hours, the streets were crowded with cars, bicycles and pedestrians and were busier than usual. Hospital staff say some of their colleagues slept at work overnight so they could continue to care for patients the next day. Johnson called the strikes a “wrong and unnecessary” move at a cabinet meeting, stressing that the country must continue on its path because it is in the public interest to improve the way the railways are run.
Bank of England Report on Inflation
According to the Bank of England (BoE), inflation will exceed 11% in October. The economy is currently on a contraction path and may enter a recession in the second half of the year. Of the major industrialised nations, only Russia is economically worse off than the UK, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The unions said the rail strikes in London could mark the beginning of a “summer of discontent” with teachers, doctors, garbage workers and even lawyers facing a 10% rise in inflation.
Rising Taxi Fares in the UK
At the same time as the strikes, the demand for Uber online taxi services has increased. “We are expecting significant increases in demand as a result of strike action across the rail network next week. We are informing drivers of the expected increase in demand to help ensure there are enough cars out on the road,” an Uber spokesman said. But reports suggest that taxi fares have multiplied. The strike is estimated to cost the British economy £1 billion ($1.22 billion). Rumors of strikes are being heard from other public sector employees.
The rail strikes are taking place in London as the unprecedented jump in inflation and the rampant rise in the cost of living have placed the UK in the worst economic situation in half a century. Inflation rates reached 9% last month (April), according to the latest report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This figure, in addition to being the highest in the last 40 years, actually shows a 2% jump in one month. Prior to the Ukraine War, inflation was projected to reach around 2%, despite pressures by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. But now economists predict that inflation will reach above 10% by the end of this year due to rising energy prices.