Commuters in London resorted to cycling to work on Tuesday (June 21) as Britain’s biggest rail strike in 30 years kicked off paralysing the transport network in the UK.
Tens of thousands of staff walked out in a dispute over pay and jobs that could pave the way for widespread industrial action across the economy in coming months.
Some of the more than 40,000 rail workers who are due to strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday gathered at picket lines from dawn, leaving the network at a standstill and major stations deserted. The London Underground metro was also mostly closed due to a separate strike.
Unions have said the rail strikes could mark the start of a “summer of discontent” with teachers, medics, waste disposal workers and even barristers moving towards industrial action as surging food and fuel prices push inflation towards 10%.
The government has faced criticism from opposition lawmakers for refusing to get involved in the talks to settle the dispute. Ministers say it is a matter for the unions to work out directly with rail employers.