fairn.png
Sunday August 14th, 2022 8:53PM

Last-ditch talks aim to avert disruptive UK rail strike

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Unions and train companies in Britain are set to hold last-minute talks Monday amid fading hopes of averting the country’s biggest rail strikes for decades.

Up to 40,000 cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers and station staff are due to walk out for three days this week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, in a dispute over pay and job security at a time of soaring inflation.

The strike is expected to shut down the rail network across the country, with London Underground subway services also hit by a walkout on Tuesday.

Millions of people in Britain, like those across Europe, are seeing their cost of living soar. Salaries have not kept pace with inflation, which has hit 9% and is forecast to rise further, as Russia’s war in Ukraine squeezes supplies of energy and food staples including wheat. Prices were already rising before the war, as the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic fueled strong consumer demand.

At the same time, U.K. passenger numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels and train companies are seeking to cut costs and staffing.

Talks on resolving the dispute have faltered, and unions are calling on the government to get involved. They accuse Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative administration of standing on the sidelines so it can blame unions, and the left-of-center opposition Labour Party, for the disruption.

Unions say the government, which sets the rules for train companies and owns infrastructure operator Network Rail, has not given the firms enough flexibility to offer a substantial pay increase.

Treasury minister Simon Clarke said “this is a matter between the employers — the train operating companies and Network Rail — and the trade unions.”

He said workers should get “a sensible pay increase,” but that too big a raise would spark a wage-price spiral driving inflation even higher.

Rail, Maritime and Transport Union General Secretary Mick Lynch said he expected other sectors to strike later this year.

“I think there are going to be many unions that are balloting across the country because people can’t take it anymore,” he told Sky News. "We’ve got people doing full-time jobs who are having to take state benefits and use food banks. That is a national disgrace.”

Compounding the travel misery in the U.K., Heathrow Airport said it was asking airlines flying from Terminals 2 and 3 to cut 10% of flights on Monday. The request came after reports emerged Friday of a huge backlog of baggage at the London airport.

Several European airports have scrapped flights in an attempt to reduce delays. Budget airline easyJet said Monday it was “consolidating” flights because of “operational issues” at airports including London Gatwick and Amsterdam’s Schiphol, which have both cut the number of flights they will handle over the summer. EasyJet didn't say how many flights would be affected.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
South Asia floods hampering access to food, clean water
Floods in South Asia continue to wreak havoc, hindering authorities’ efforts to deliver food and drinking water to shelters across northeastern India and north and northeastern regions of Bangladesh
4:19AM ( 1 minute ago )
Reports: Paul Haggis detained in Italy in sex assault case
Italian news reports are quoting prosecutors in southern Italy as saying film director Paul Haggis has been detained for investigation of the alleged sexual assault of a woman
3:42AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Asian markets mostly lower; bitcoin steady at $20,000
Asian markets are mostly lower in cautious trading, while the price of bitcoin remained near $20,000
3:24AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Food, water concerns as floods continue to batter Bangladesh
Floods in Bangladesh have left millions struggling to access safe drinking water and food across the country’s vast northeastern and northern regions
2:20AM ( 1 hour ago )
Australian leader refuses to publicly intervene on Assange
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has rejected calls for him to publicly demand the United States drop its prosecution of WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange
1:18AM ( 3 hours ago )
Colombia picks 1st leftist president in tight runoff contest
Colombia will be governed by a leftist president for the first time after former rebel Gustavo Petro narrowly defeated a real estate millionaire in a runoff election that underscored people’s disgust with the country’s traditional politicians
12:03AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP World News
New body armor rules in NY miss vest worn by Buffalo killer
A new law barring sales of bullet-resistant vests to most civilians in New York doesn't cover the type of armor worn by the gunman who killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket
1:42AM ( 2 hours ago )
Asian markets mostly lower ahead of US holiday
Asian markets are mixed in cautious trading ahead of a federal holiday in the U.S. Worries over inflation and risks of a global recession from central bank efforts to bring it under control appeared to outweigh Wall Street's positive close on Friday
12:42AM ( 3 hours ago )
EXPLAINER: What is Title IX and what impact has it had?
Title IX is best known for its role in gender equity in athletics and sexual harassment on campuses
12:21AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Yellen: Recession not inevitable, gas tax holiday weighed
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she expects the U.S. economy to slow in the months ahead, but that a recession is not inevitable
11:19AM ( 17 hours ago )
Bitcoin drops below $20,000 as crypto selloff quickens
Bitcoin has fallen below $20,000 for the first time since late 2020, in a fresh sign that the selloff in cryptocurrencies is deepening
6:18PM ( 1 day ago )
Big crowds take to London streets to protest soaring costs
Thousands of people have marched through central London in a protest over the soaring cost of living in Britain
11:34AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Economy
Reports: Paul Haggis detained in Italy in sex assault case
Italian news reports are quoting prosecutors in southern Italy as saying film director Paul Haggis has been detained for investigation of the alleged sexual assault of a woman
3:42AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Asian markets mostly lower; bitcoin steady at $20,000
Asian markets are mostly lower in cautious trading, while the price of bitcoin remained near $20,000
3:24AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Fitzpatrick's victory a win for golf at thrilling US Open
The unsettled future of golf was in the surest of hands over the final four tantalizing hours of the U.S. Open
2:55AM ( 1 hour ago )
William at 40: A milestone birthday in a life under scrutiny
The world watched as Prince William grew from a towheaded schoolboy to a dashing air-sea rescue pilot to a balding father of three
2:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
LEADING OFF: Padres check star 3B Machado's sprained ankle
The San Diego Padres will see how star third baseman Manny Machado is feeling, a day after he sprained his left ankle while taking a tumble running out a grounder
2:46AM ( 1 hour ago )