LONDON: Railway staff in Britain on Thursday staged the latest in a series of strikes, once again disrupting commuters and leisure travellers, as decades-high inflation hits salaries and prompts walkouts across various industries.

The latest action by rail workers, which will be repeated on Saturday, is part of a summer of strike action by the sector and others at a scale not seen since the 1980s under former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The dispute over pay rises and working conditions has shown little sign of resolution and is likely to be exacerbated by news this week that UK inflation topped 10 percent in July for the first time since 1982.

The global impact of the war in Ukraine on energy and food prices, and, to a lesser extent, post-Brexit trade frictions are blamed for the surging cost-of-living crisis in Britain.

Tens of thousands of railway staff are set to walk out over the two days, leaving a skeleton train service and stranding holidaymakers and commuters, even if home-working continues for many office staff after Covid restrictions were lifted.

Meanwhile, London transport workers serving the underground “Tube” and bus network will walk out on Friday, creating three days of travel misery in southeast England.

“It’s extremely unreliable these days, so I’m finding I’m having to drive, park and pay a lot more,” recruitment consultant Greg Ellwood, 26, told AFP at an unusually quiet Euston station in London.

“We’re all just trying to make a living and get by... So I’ve got all the sympathy in the world for them,” he added, referring to the strikers.

Among the sectors also calling strikes are dockers at Felixstowe, Britain’s largest freight port situated in eastern England, who will start an eight-day stoppage Sunday.


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