Train strike: Pay dispute brings London transport network to a halt

All of London’s underground and overground train lines have been suspended or partially suspended and dozens of bus routes in the west of the city have been halted, Transport for London (TfL) said.

Tens of thousands of workers across Britain’s national rail network walked off the job on Thursday and will do so again on Saturday.

Commuters across the country have already suffered disruption following rail strikes this year, organized by unions demanding wages and conditions for their members that better reflect the spike in the cost of living caused by price inflation. Energy.

Data showed 10.1% inflation in July, the highest since February 1982, as rising energy costs resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hit consumers directly through household bills and indirectly through rising food prices.

This has led to a stalemate between companies, who say rising costs and falling demand are limiting their bargaining power, unions who say their workers cannot afford to live, and the government, which fears that high wage increases fuel inflation.

“We don’t want to be in a 1970s vicious cycle where you end up with rising wages, rising inflation, etc. You never get out of it,” Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC.

The RMT said the underground strike was a response to a lack of assurances on TfL jobs and pensions. In a letter to Shapps, the union accused him of waging an ideological war against railway workers.

TfL itself is in protracted negotiations with the government after an emergency state funding agreement expired, partly necessitated by a post-pandemic drop in passenger numbers.

Workers in other UK industries are also planning future strikes or heading for industrial action. These include port workers, lawyers, teachers, nurses, firefighters and waste collection personnel, airports and post offices.

Bonny J. Streater