Tens of thousands of the UK’s railway workers began the network’s biggest strike action in more than 30 years, leaving commuters facing chaos.
About 40,000 cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers and station staff were holding a 24-hour strike on Tuesday, with two more planned for Thursday and Saturday.
The dispute centres on pay, working conditions and job security as the UK’s railways struggle to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
There were almost 1 billion train journeys in the UK in the year to March. But that is well below pre-COVID-19 levels, and train companies, which were kept afloat with government support during the past two years, are seeking to cut costs and staffing.
Last-minute talks on Monday failed to make a breakthrough. The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) says it will not accept rail firms’ offer of a 3 percent raise, which is far below the rate of inflation, currently running at 9 percent.
Major stations were largely deserted, with only about 20 percent of passenger trains scheduled to run.