Strikes paralyze Britain’s railways, BA officials vote for shutdown

LONDON (Reuters) – Strikes brought Britain’s rail network to a standstill for the second day of this week and British Airways officials voted to halt on Thursday amid warnings that the country faces a summer of industrial discontent.

A rise in the cost of food and fuel is pushing many household budgets to the limit, prompting unions to demand higher pay increases for their members. The government called for wage restraint to avoid an inflationary spiral.

Britain’s rail network came to a halt as 40,000 workers went on strike following a similar strike on Tuesday, as union leaders, train operating companies and the government faced demands for wage increases to keep up with rising inflation and a promise of don’t cut jobs.

Passengers were advised not to use trains unless absolutely necessary throughout the week, with only about one in five services running. Unions have warned of further action unless an agreement can be reached.

“We will continue to talk to companies about everything that has been put on the table and we will review that and see if and when there needs to be a new phase of industrial action,” Mick Lynch, Secretary General of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) , told the BBC.

“But if we don’t get a deal, it’s extremely likely there will be.”

Although negotiations are ongoing, a third day of strikes is planned for Saturday. Teachers, healthcare professionals and other industries are also moving towards industrial action in what unions say could be a “summer of discontent”.

British Airways employees at London’s Heathrow voted in favor of a pay stoppage, threatening to exacerbate disruption at Britain’s busiest airport during an already chaotic summer for air travellers, with the industry already struggling to cope. with a shortage of employees.[L8N2YA483]

The government has criticized the rail strikes, calling them counterproductive and more harmful to those on low incomes who rely on public transport and cannot work from home.

“I think people should go around the table and solve the problem,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Rwanda, where he was attending a Commonwealth meeting. “I want us to work together with the rail team for a better future for the railroad, and I think strikes are a very bad idea.”

The ministers also plan to change a law that would make it easier for companies to use temporary workers, in a move aimed at minimizing the impact of the strike.

“Once again, unions are holding the country hostage, paralyzing crucial public services and businesses. The situation we are in is not sustainable,” said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

“Repealing these 1970s restrictions will give companies the freedom to access fully qualified employees quickly, while allowing people to get on with their lives uninterrupted to help keep the economy going.”

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Muvija M, William James, Sachin Ravikumar, Farouq Suleiman and Michael Holden; editing by Elizabeth Piper, Bernadette Baum and Nick Macfie)

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