Thousands of rail workers have been on strike across the UK on Tuesday as part of a wave of industrial action planned for the holiday season.
The strikes of the country’s largest railway union, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT), will seriously disrupt rail traffic until Saturday. People are advised to travel only if necessary.
The rail strikes will take place this week over two 48-hour periods, Tuesday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday. Although Eurostar is not directly involved in this strike, it will also impact the company’s international train timetable. This is because access to the UK rail network is limited. That is why Eurostar, which runs between Amsterdam and London, among other things, uses an adjusted timetable from 13 to 17 December.
The latest round of rail strikes comes as the UK is being hit by a wave of industrial action not seen since the 1980s. The strikes are being held to force higher wages because of the sharply increased energy and food prices. Railway workers previously held strikes in June and October.
The RMT is also planning further strikes over Christmas and early January. Network Rail, the owner of Britain’s rail infrastructure, has offered its workers a 5% retroactive pay rise for this year and a further 4% in early 2023. However, union members have rejected that wage offer. The British government has urged unions to call off planned strikes.
According to data from the British statistics office, the United Kingdom already recorded its highest number of lost working days due to labour disputes in more than a decade in October. According to estimates, more than 1 million working days are expected to be lost to strikes in December, making it the worst month of strikes since July 1989.