Fresh train, airline strikes hit Britain and mainland Europe - GulfToday

Fresh train, airline strikes hit Britain and mainland Europe


Passengers at Edinburgh's Waverley Station during nationwide rail strikes on Saturday. AP

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

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

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 6:30pm.

Britain_Rail_Strikes-main1-750 Trains stand stationary on tracks by platforms in Waterloo railway station in London. AP

The RMT rail union insists this week's actions are necessary as wages have failed to keep pace with UK inflation, which has hit a 40-year high and is on course to keep rising. It also wants a threat of compulsory redundancies withdrawn.

RMT secretary general Mick Lynch said its members are "standing up for all working people trying to get a pay rise and some job security." "In a modern economy, workers need to be properly rewarded for their work, enjoy good conditions and have the peace of mind that their job will not be taken away from them," he added.


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Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: "Unfortunately, the RMT's decision to carry out another day of needless and premature strike action means our passengers will suffer again on Saturday.

Spirit-Airline A line of Spirit airlines jets sit on the tarmac at Orlando International Airport. AP

"A fraction of trains will run compared to a usual Saturday service, with trains starting later in the morning and finishing much earlier in the evening."

Airline strikes

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

Staff from budget Irish airline Ryanair staged strikes in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium on Saturday, forcing the cancellation of two flights between Lisbon and Brussels.

A view of trains on the platform at Waterloo Station on a national rail strike in London. Reuters

In Belgium, the walkout meant that only 41 per cent of Ryanair flights left Charleroi airport near Brussels on Saturday and overall the budget carrier had been forced to cancel 127 flights between Friday and Sunday, an airport spokeswoman told AFP.

Ryanair-plane A Ryanair 737-8-200 and a Southwest airlines 737-8 sit side-by-side outside Boeing's Seattle Delivery Centre at Boeing Field. AP

The situation in Belgium was further complicated by a three-day strike by Brussels Airlines staff ending on Saturday that has forced the carrier owned by German giant Lufthansa to cancel 60 percent — or some 300 — of its flights since Thursday.

Ryanair staff staged their second day of action in Spain, resulting in flight delays but so far no cancellations.

One of the unions calling the strike said that, as of 10:00 am (0800 GMT), "there have been 15 delayed flights, both arrivals and departures.

A passenger at Euston station in London looks at the departures board on a rail strike. AP

"It is expected that this situation will increase throughout the day and tomorrow, as Ryanair's maximum profit system of leaving the minimum time between flights will cause delays," it added.

The aviation sector is struggling to recover from the pandemic, which led to mass layoffs as international travel was put on hold.

Faced with staff shortages, Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport was forced to announce earlier this month that it would be limiting traveller numbers this summer and cancelling flights.

The shortages have already caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled, while huge queues have angered travellers.

Agence France-Presse



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