In pics: Strikes cripple UK railways for second day as unions warn of more to come

Updated: Jun 23, 2022, 10:25 PM(IST)

Travel on Britain's railway system ground to a near halt again on Thursday, amid the second of three days of widespread strike action this week billed as the biggest in decades.

Tens of thousands of rail workers staged the latest day-long walkout over pay and job security, plunging commutes into chaos and forcing many people to stay at home. 

(Text: AFP)

Services operating on reduced hours

Only around a fifth of services are set to operate on heavily reduced hours, with those still running starting much later in the morning than usual and set to end as early as 6:30 pm.

A third day of strikes is planned for Saturday, with fears of further walkouts in the weeks to come.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Echoes of the 1970s

With Britain suffering from rocketing inflation and stagnant economic growth, the industrial action which could be mirrored by workers in other sectors over the summer has echoes of the 1970s.

Then, the country was crippled by a wave of strikes across various industries while struggling with rampant price rises and non-existent growth, a toxic combination known as stagflation.

(Photograph:Reuters)

The need to modernise the system

Railway bosses, backed by the government, argue the system costs far more to run than it generates in revenues and needs to modernise through greater flexibility over staff numbers as well as pay.

Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group, which represents various operators of train services, said reforms should still "accommodate everybody who wants to stay within the organisation".

(Photograph:AFP)

'Unnecessary'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is attending a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda, criticised the strikes as "unnecessary" and urged what he called "union barons" to accept "sensible reforms".

"I think people should get around the table and sort it out," he added, despite criticism from unions that the Conservative government should be present at negotiations as the main funder of the network.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Disruption to the people

People hoping to make it to the Glastonbury music festival in southwest England were among those impacted by Thursday's strike, with far fewer trains than usual to the nearest station in the region.

Location technology firm TomTom reported road congestion at 9 am was higher than the same time last week in and around the British capital and the northern English city Manchester.

(Photograph:AFP)

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