UK News

Fresh transport strikes hit Britain and mainland Europe

#Fresh #transport #strikes #hit #Britain #mainland #Europe

Britain’s rail system came to a virtual standstill again on Saturday and flights in Europe were disrupted as travel sector strikes hit the continent.

Tens of thousands of UK rail workers staged the latest all-day strike over pay and job security, hampering weekend plans for those already affected by similar strikes on Tuesday and Thursday.

Only about a fifth of the services are said to operate at greatly reduced times, starting much later in the morning than usual and ending as early as 18:30 (1730 GMT).

The RMT rail union insists this week’s action is necessary as wages have failed to keep pace with UK inflation, which has hit a 40-year high and is set to rise.

She also wants to take back the threat of redundancies.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said its members would “stand up for all working people who are trying to get a raise and some job security”.

“In a modern economy, workers need to be paid well for their work, enjoy good conditions and know that their jobs will not be taken away,” he added.

Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said: “Unfortunately, the RMT’s decision to conduct another day of unnecessary and premature strike action means our passengers will suffer again on Saturday.

“Compared to a typical Saturday service, a fraction of the trains will run, with trains starting later in the morning and ending much earlier in the evening.”

– flight strikes –

Britain, like much of Europe, is suffering from skyrocketing inflation and sluggish economic growth, raising the prospect of a summer of strikes across the continent.

Employees of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair staged strikes in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium on Saturday.

This forced the cancellation of two flights between Lisbon and Brussels, while in Spain the USO transport union said 75 flights from six different locations had been cancelled.

The union also denounced that striking staff had been replaced by workers brought in from Morocco, a tactic it said was illegal because it violated the right to strike.

In Belgium, the strike meant that only 41 percent of Ryanair flights left Charleroi Airport near Brussels on Saturday. The low-cost airline has had to cancel 127 flights since Friday, an airport spokeswoman told AFP.

The situation in Belgium was further complicated by a three-day strike by Brussels Airlines employees that ended on Saturday. That has forced the airline, owned by German giant Lufthansa, to cancel 60 percent – or about 300 – of its flights since Thursday.

Ryanair flights were also canceled in France on Saturday. Damien Mourgues of the SNPNC union said 36 flights out of 80 had been canceled because of a flight attendant strike.

Bordeaux and Marseille airports said nine and 12 flights respectively would be canceled on Sunday.

The aviation sector is struggling to recover from the pandemic, which has prompted mass layoffs as international travel has been suspended.

Faced with staff shortages, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was forced to announce earlier this month that it would be restricting the number of travelers and canceling flights this summer.

The bottlenecks have already caused hundreds of flights to be canceled while huge queues have angered travellers.

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