LONDON: On Friday, much of London's underground rail network came to a halt as a result of a workers' strike, adding to the already troubled transport situation in Britain.
One-day walkouts by bus drivers in west and south-west London began at the same time as the national rail strike on Thursday and Saturday. The Tube's operator, Transport for London, urged commuters to stay off the roads if possible.
According to the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, Tube workers are on strike because of an "attack on pensions and jobs".
Due to rising inflation demanding higher wages, the British rail industry has been particularly badly affected by labor unrest. At the same time, the government is pushing to modernize businesses and cut costs to reflect the decline in commuting following the coronavirus pandemic. Many people's ability to work from home could mitigate the effects of the tube strike, as has happened on other transportation strikes this year.
There has been little sign of progress in settling increasingly acrimonious disputes, raising concerns that sporadic hiatus may occur again.
RMT claims Grant Shapps, the Transportation Secretary, is pausing a deal to address workers' concerns. Shapps' involvement was disputed by the Department of Transportation, which said unions and employers should hold "meaningful talks" to prevent disruptive attacks.
Shapps blamed union leaders for the failure to present settlement proposals to their members. "It's time to go out of the way of union owners and put the deals on the table," he told Sky News on Friday.
Labor unrest is happening as the economy continues to deteriorate. Last month, inflation hit a four-decade high of 10.1%, pushing up the price of everything from food to energy to clothing.
The Bank of England estimates price increases will exceed 13% in the coming months, making it more painful for consumers, whose real wages are falling to an all-time high. This month, consumer confidence hit a record low.
The unrest is not just happening in buses and trains. At the largest container port, Felixstow, dockworkers are staging an eight-day walkout, which will begin on Sunday, and on 26 August, 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers will begin a series of strikes.
In England and Wales, lawyers have organized walkouts, and nurses prepare to vote on strike.