Travellers queue at security at Heathrow Airport in London, Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Share this @internewscast.com


‘Fat cat’ union barons today moved a step closer towards derailing the summer holiday hopes of thousands of families after hundreds of British Airways staff at Heathrow voted to go on strike in a dispute that could lead to even more airport chaos. 

It is the latest pay dispute threatening to disrupt Britain as workers, the majority of them in the public sector, demand pay rises in line with surging 9.1% inflation caused by the Government’s massive Covid bailouts and Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The earliest date the strikes could happen is early July, but the unions have not announced a timescale, possibly in the hopes of pressuring BA bosses to cave in.

Who else is set to join Britain’s summer strike contagion? 

Strikes could spread across the economy in the coming months. These are the areas affected – and those which could be hit – and the unions behind the ballots.

RAIL WORKERS 

Britain’s entire rail network will will be paralysed again on Saturday when more than 50,000 RMT members will go on strike.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) is also balloting thousands of staff at Network Rail and several train companies, with the possibility of strikes as soon as July 27.

The train drivers’ union Aslef is set to strike at Greater Anglia and the Croydon Tramlink in the coming weeks.

EDUCATION

Teachers’ union NAS/UWT will ballot members over action unless the Government backs demands for a 12 per cent pay rise. A pay award for 2022/23 is due in November.

The National Education Union has said it will ballot its 460,000 members if a pay rise in line with inflation is not offered by the Government.

HEALTHCARE

Unison, which represents NHS staff, has said strikes are possible unless the annual pay offer for them is not close to the rate of inflation. The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, has also said it will prepare for a ballot unless junior doctors are given a 22 per cent ‘restorative’ pay rise.

The Royal College of Nursing has also demanded a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation.

CIVIL SERVICE

The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents civil service workers, will hold a ballot in September over pay, pensions and redundancies.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Unison, GMB and Unite unions have said local government staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should receive a pay increase of at least £2,000 each. Workers include rubbish collectors, library staff, teaching assistants and care workers.

Unite said it will support ‘any action’ by workers to achieve a pay rise.

LAW 

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which represents barristers in England and Wales, said several days of court walkouts will begin from next week.

The promised industrial action, announced on Monday following a ballot of members, comes at a time of significant backlogs across the court system.

COMMUNICATIONS

The Communication Workers Union will ballot Royal Mail workers in a dispute over a pay rise offer of 2 per cent.

The union has also sent ballot papers to BT workers including engineers, contact centre staff and retail employees over pay. It could result in the first strike at the company since it was privatised in the mid-1980s.

PARKING WARDENS 

For some commuters hit by rising fuel costs and rail strikes, it is the glimmer of a silver lining.

This month traffic wardens will start a seven-day strike in protest at pay cuts and ‘fire and rehire’ tactics.

The walkout in Wiltshire means penalty charge notices will not be issued and charges in council car parks will not be enforced, costing £30,000 in revenue.

Militant GMB and Unite unions have blamed ‘pig-headed’ aviation bosses for the dispute by imposing mass layoffs during the pandemic, while airlines were struggling.

BA said that the unions had rejected a 10% pay offer in favour of walkouts as early as next month, potentially during the school holidays. However, union barons claim the airline’s offer was a one-time ‘bonus’ and its members want a full-time raise.

Heathrow has been mired in chaos since March as bosses struggle to hire enough staff amid widespread labour shortages across the UK in the wake of Covid lockdowns and financial support packages. It has failed to manage a ‘baggage crisis’ which has seen huge numbers of luggage pile up outside Terminal 2. Flyers who have lost their luggage have complained on social media that they have been forced to wait a week to be reunited with their bags.

The vote raises fears of a ‘summer of discontent’ that could see Heathrow including check-in staff potentially join teachers, NHS staff and civil servants on the picket lines as they demand more pay amid surging inflation. It comes as Mick Lynch’s RMT union this week unleashes a series of mass walkouts that have brought the UK’s rail network to a standstill.

Downing Street has said that strikes by BA workers would add to the ‘misery’ passengers are already suffering at airports.

A No 10 spokesman added: ‘This is obviously a matter for British Airways and the unions and we would strongly encourage both to come together to find a settlement. We don’t want to see any further disruption for passengers and strike action would only add to the misery being faced by passengers at airports.

‘DfT (Department for Transport) will obviously work closely to look at what contingency measures BA could put in place and we expect BA to put in place contingency measures to ensure that as little disruption is caused, and that where there is disruption that passengers can be refunded’.

Downing Street has previously argued it would be ‘reckless’ to raise public sector pay in line with inflation, as ministers defended reinstating the triple pensions lock while arguing in favour of wage restraint elsewhere.  

GMB is headed-up by Gary Smith, a long-term Scottish trade unionist and supporter of Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership, who was elected as General Secretary in June last year. His salary and pay deal has not yet been made public, due to him only taking up position in June last year, but is believed to be six-figures. 

GMB’s National Officer Nadine Houghton, who ran as a Labour candidate in 2019, said: ‘With grim predictability, holidaymakers face massive disruption thanks to the pig-headedness of British Airways. BA have tried to offer our members crumbs from the table in the form of a 10 per cent one off bonus payment, but this doesn’t cut the mustard. 

‘Our members need to be reinstated the 10 per cent they had stolen from them last year with full back pay and the 10% bonus which other colleagues have been paid. What did BA think was going to happen? 

‘It’s not too late to save the summer holidays – other BA workers have had their pay cuts reversed, do the same for ground and check in staff and this industrial action can be nipped in the bid.’

Unite officer Russ Ball said: ‘The problems British Airways is facing are entirely of its own making. It brutally cut jobs and pay during the pandemic even though the Government was paying them to save jobs.

‘In the case of this dispute, they have insulted this workforce, slashing pay by 10% only to restore it to managers but not to our members. BA is treating its loyal workforce as second class citizens and they will not put up with it a moment longer. Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to BA’s services at Heathrow. The company has a short window of opportunity to reinstate our members’ pay before strikes are called. I urge BA not to squander that opportunity.’

In a statement, BA said it is ‘extremely disappointed’ that the unions ‘have chosen to take this course of action’ and vowed to ‘work together to find a solution’. 

Travel chiefs called the news ‘another terrible blow to the industry and customers’ that will ‘add to the already uncertain atmosphere of flight cancellations’. 

Calling it ‘the last thing that airports need after two years of restrictions’, travel guru Paul Charles told MailOnline: ‘The pressure is on both sides here, BA and the unions, to get round the table and hammer out a compromise so that families can enjoy a carefree summer holiday.

‘Customers are already hugely worried and uncertain about flying at the moment. They’ve seen huge numbers of flights cancelled and delayed, they will now be on the edge of their seats over this strike action. This has come at a terrible time for everyone, for the airports that need a good summer, as well as people who now face a third summer of disruption.’

Ministers fear Britain could face a summer of strikes as unions flex their muscles in pursuit of inflation-busting pay rises.

The National Education Union yesterday warned that schools could be next in line for strike action unless ministers stump up ‘inflation-plus pay increases for all teachers’. Unions representing doctors, nurses, civil servants and postal workers are also threatening industrial action over pay. Some have even demanded settlements 5% above inflation – which yesterday hit 9.1%.

It comes as the Government plots to rush forward new laws today which end the ban on using agency workers to break strikes.

As BA staff at Heathrow voted to go on strike, it emerged today:

  •  Boris Johnson called the train strikes ‘unnecessary’ and a ‘terrible idea’, and stressed the benefits of ‘sensible reforms’ of the rail system;
  • Downing Street urged the RMT members to cancel Saturday’s strike ‘as quickly as possible’ in a bid to avoid another day of disruption and chaos; 
  • Teachers have threatened to go on strike this autumn if their pay demands are not met. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said such a move would be ‘unforgivable’, particularly after the interruption caused by the Covid lockdown;
  • The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) announced that its workers are to vote on strikes next month – so the earliest that industrial action could be taken is July 27;
  • And the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents postal workers, could be among the next group of workers to strike for higher pay;
  • Ministers are rushing forward new anti-strike laws today as militant rail unions inflict misery on millions of travellers again;
  • Keir Starmer’s authority is being tested after more Labour MPs today defied the party whips and joined picket lines with striking RMT members.
Travellers queue at security at Heathrow Airport in London, Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Travellers queue at security at Heathrow Airport in London, Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Social media users shared video of long queues at Heathrow. One wrote: 'Joining the inevitable chorus of travellers tweeting about, you guessed it, Heathrow queues. This is the queue just to get to security. The staff are being brilliant, though'

Pictured: A long queues for security at Heathrow Airport today

Social media users shared video of long queues at Heathrow. One wrote: ‘Joining the inevitable chorus of travellers tweeting about, you guessed it, Heathrow queues. This is the queue just to get to security. The staff are being brilliant, though’

GMB is headed-up by Gary Smith (pictured), a long-term Scottish trade unionist and supporter of Sir Keir Starmer's Labour leadership, who was elected as General Secretary in June last year. His salary and pay deal has not yet been made public, due to him only taking up position in June last year, but is believed to be six-figures

GMB is headed-up by Gary Smith (pictured), a long-term Scottish trade unionist and supporter of Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership, who was elected as General Secretary in June last year. His salary and pay deal has not yet been made public, due to him only taking up position in June last year, but is believed to be six-figures

A huge 'carpet' of luggage (pictured) has built up outside Heathrow Terminal 2 following a 'technical glitch' last Friday. Today some travellers took to social media to claim that they had not had their bag returned in 'seven days'

A huge ‘carpet’ of luggage (pictured) has built up outside Heathrow Terminal 2 following a ‘technical glitch’ last Friday. Today some travellers took to social media to claim that they had not had their bag returned in ‘seven days’

Pictured: Travellers queue at security at Heathrow Airport in London on Wednesday

Pictured: Travellers queue at security at Heathrow Airport in London on Wednesday

Britons took to Twitter to complain about the strikes at Heathrow airport that will add to the 'carnage' already there

Britons took to Twitter to complain about the strikes at Heathrow airport that will add to the ‘carnage’ already there

What is inflation? Why is it increasing so much? And why is it bad? 

The headline CPI rate increased from an annual rate of 9 per cent in April to 9.1 per cent in May – a 40-year high

WHAT IS INFLATION? AND WHY IS IT BAD?

Inflation simply means a general increase in the price of goods and services in an economy.

It has long been seen as one of the biggest threats to economies, and in extreme examples has spiralled out of control and sparked panic.

The German Weimar Republic effectively collapsed after the value of the mark went from around 90 marks to the US dollar in 1921 to 7,400 marks to the dollar in 1921.

In Zimbabwe between 2008 and 2009 the monthly inflation rate was estimated to have reached a mind-boggling 79.6billion per cent.

Although inflation has faded in the minds of Britons who have become used to ultra-low interest rates and stable prices, it caused chaos here in the 1970s when deregulation of the mortgage market, the emergence of credit cards and an overheating economy drove the rate to an eye-watering 25 per cent in 1975.

WHAT IS CAUSING INFLATION TO RISE?

Economists are split on the current causes of surging inflation.

Most economists agree that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year led to a spike in the price of vital goods. Crippling sanctions imposed by Britain, the EU and the US reduced the supply in oil and basic foodstuffs such as wheat and corn, and in turn forced an increase in prices.

However, they are split on how far the Government’s actions during the pandemic caused the current inflation crisis. 

Some believe that by massively increasing the amount of money in circulation while restricting the ability of the economy to produce stuff, the Covid lockdown fuelled the increase in prices now being experienced. 

HOW IS INFLATION BEING CURBED?

The central banks of major countries including Britain have decided to hike interest rates.

By raising interest rates, they hope that this will make borrowing more expensive and so people will stop spending money. In theory, as demand falls, prices should then also fall.

But some economists are worried that hiking interest rates while growth is very small and inflation is spiralling, combined with talk of raising taxes to pay off Britain’s enormous debt – accrued in part by the Covid lockdown – could push the economy into recession.

Reacting to news of the strike, Nicky Kelvin, head of travel company The Points Guy UK, told MailOnline: ‘It’s very disappointing to see that strike action is likely to now happen at British Airways, potentially causing even more severe disruption for passengers this summer.’

Speaking earlier this month, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘A strike by our members will make an immediate impact on the service to customers so I urge BA to get a grip and restore these workers’ pay immediately.

‘British Airways used the cover of Covid to brutally cut members’ pay. BA has now reversed the pay cuts imposed on management but refuses to do this for our members. This is disgraceful. Unite will not allow our members to be treated as a second-class workforce.’

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman stressed the Government does want to reward workers in the public sector with a pay rise, but warned against ‘chasing inflation’, which he said could lead to people’s take-home wages counting for less.

It comes as the rate of inflation rose again in May, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), remaining at 40-year highs and deepening the squeeze felt by households across the UK.

The triple lock ensures state pensions rise by the highest of inflation, pay growth or 2.5%.

Next April’s pension increase is set to be determined by the rate of inflation in September, which is currently expected to be around 10%.

But No 10 has insisted boosting public sector wages to a similar degree would further stoke mounting costs.

Asked if the Prime Minister was worried about fuelling intergenerational resentment, the spokesman said: ‘We will keep explaining to the public why we think this is the right approach, and we are confident that the public will understand that it would long term have a bigger impact on their take-home pay if we were to take actions – reckless actions – now that could spike inflation.

‘It’s important to stress that does not mean we do not want to reward public sector workers with a pay rise, we do, it’s just we must make sure that we don’t do anything that has a knock-on impact which feeds into this global inflationary spiral that there is the potential to see.’

Pressed on how he would define ‘reckless action’, he said: ‘As I’ve said a number of times this week, it involves chasing inflation with wages so that you end up having the knock-on impact of pushing inflation ever higher, and therefore meaning the pay that people do take home is worth less.

‘That’s not what the public wants, it’s not what we want, and so you need to strike a careful balance.’

Earlier, Rishi Sunak defended the Government’s plan to increase the state pension in line with inflation despite calling for pay restraint across the public sector.

The Chancellor said that unlike pay increases, a major hike in pensions would not lead to inflation in the wider economy.

He said: ‘It’s right that we reward our hard-working public sector workers with a pay rise, but that needs to be proportionate and balanced with the need not to make the inflationary pressures worse and also to see what’s affordable for the taxpayer.

‘The slight difference with pensions is that pensions are not input costs into the cost of producing goods and services that we all consume, so they don’t add to inflation in the same way.’

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab also defended the Government’s policy on pensions and public sector wages.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘They (pensioners) are particularly vulnerable and they are disproportionately affected by the increase in energy costs which we know everyone is facing.’

Ninety-one per cent of workers stay at home during strikes: Footfall in London is BELOW December Omicron scare as rail workers bring the country to a halt again in pursuit of a massive pay rise 

More than 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Mick Lynch's rail strikes. The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last Tuesday - lower even than during the peak of December's Omicron scare

More than 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Mick Lynch’s rail strikes. The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last Tuesday – lower even than during the peak of December’s Omicron scare

More than 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Mick Lynch’s rail strikes, as the RMT unleashes more travel chaos across Britain today.

The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last week – lower even than during the peak of December’s Omicron scare.

Occupancy levels yesterday rose to 23%, according to data from technology company Freespace shared with MailOnline. Across the UK, the average occupancy was 22%, just over half of the normal rate of 40%. Before the pandemic, average office occupancy nation-wide was around 60%.

Broadband provider Virgin Media O2 said it recorded an increase in usage of up to 10% on the first day of the strikes, indicating that ‘millions more people are working from home’ this week.

The fresh data demonstrates that militant Lynch has dealt a crippling blow to Boris Johnson ‘s anti-WFH drive by effectively plunging Britain back into ‘another lockdown ‘.

Today’s mass walkout is also likely to inflict another devastating blow to the UK’s flailing economy, with experts warning that the strike action could clobber the beleaguered hospitality sector by £500million this week alone. The Night-Time Industries Association has today warned that businesses are suffering up to 40% lost trade due to the strikes.

Comparing it to the darkest days of the Covid shutdowns, chief executive Michael Kill said: ‘Long-term strike action will lead to an irreparable loss of business and jobs, after so much hard work has been put into recovery in the last 12 months.’

 

The Government had committed £37billion to help people cope with rising costs, he said, but ‘at the same time we have got to stop making the problem worse by fuelling pay demands that will only see inflation stay higher for longer and that only hurts the poorest the worst’.

Meanwhile, baggage chaos continues at Heathrow today. A huge ‘carpet’ of baggage built up outside Terminal 2 since it was hit by a ‘technical glitch’ last Friday.

The airport says that airlines, and not the airport, are responsible for baggage and has apologised to inconvenienced passengers.

Today social media users took to Twitter to complain that they had yet to receive their bag six days after flying into Heathrow.

One social media user wrote: ‘Hi Heathrow. It’s been 6th day now since you lost my baggage. I need details, who is tracking my lost two bags and where are they now? And when will I get them back?’

Another wrote: ‘Still waiting for my four bags. It has been seven days now. Heathrow and Indian Airlines – Thanks for the worst services.’ 

It comes as passengers at Manchester Airport have been left stranded after a two-hour wait to unload their bags from the plane.  

Travellers battled huge check-in queues at the airport yesterday morning, and said they did not receive their bags for over two hours despite being the ‘only plane to land in T1’ during that time period.

Ministers have announced last minute plans to help prevent summer travel chaos as holidaymakers continue to be caught up in airport mayhem. 

On Monday they announced plans to relax rules which currently force airlines to fly a certain number of planes or risk losing valuable landing slots.

New regulations were laid before Parliament aimed at helping carriers avoid making last-minute cancellations and causing mayhem in the airports.

They will allow a one-off ‘amnesty’ on landing slots, meaning airlines can pull flights from their schedules ahead of the peak summer season without the risk of losing them long-term.

Thousands of passengers have had their flights and travel plans disrupted after weeks of cancellations and huge queues due to staff shortages. 

Holidaymakers have also been caught up in Heathrow’s luggage chaos, with dozens of bags being dumped by staff outside of the baggage carousels.

One traveller said: ‘At Heathrow terminal 3 for 2 hours now in the same immigration line. Two officers managing 500+ passengers.. absolute madness.’

Another said: ‘My aunt has been queuing at Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 immigration for just under four hours. 

‘There are two desks open. Is this country ok?’

It comes after thousands of passengers were left without their luggage after the baggage system in Terminal 2 faced a ‘technical issue’ on Friday.

Hundreds of bags were heaped in piles across the terminal without and staff around to sort through them.

Passengers reportedly waited hours for their bags while some had to leave without getting them back at all.

One posted online: ‘I flew from Heathrow Airport on Sunday morning to Lisbon and still have no bag here. 

Twitter users have complained about the carnage gripping Heathrow as the aviation industry is gripped by crisis

Twitter users have complained about the carnage gripping Heathrow as the aviation industry is gripped by crisis

Passengers at Heathrow Airport witness luggage being dumped int he terminals next to the baggage carousels today. It comes just days after the airports Terminal 2 luggage system suffered a failure and left bags to pile up

Passengers at Heathrow Airport witness luggage being dumped int he terminals next to the baggage carousels today. It comes just days after the airports Terminal 2 luggage system suffered a failure and left bags to pile up

England’s greatest striker? Gary Lineker graces the picket line in Manchester and poses for photos with striking rail workers while crowds wait for buses and UK is paralysed by staff demanding huge pay rise 

MANCHESTER: BBC pundit Gary Lineker today posed for a photo with striking rail workers outside Manchester Piccadilly

MANCHESTER: BBC pundit Gary Lineker today posed for a photo with striking rail workers outside Manchester Piccadilly

BBC football pundit Gary Lineker today posed for photos with Mick Lynch’s striking rail workers on a picket line outside Manchester Piccadilly.

The former England ace smiled for the camera as he walked past the militant RMT members with a Pret coffee this morning, while dozens of Glastonbury revellers lined the streets of Manchester waiting for buses to take them to Somerset.

Sharing the photo on Twitter, Manchester South RMT posted: ‘@GaryLineker standing with the @RMTunion track workers on strike! Solidarity!’

Rail workers have gone on picket lines in cities across the country including Bristol, Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds. In Sheffield, they were even joined by Thatcher’s arch-rival Arthur Scargill, the former boss of the National Union of Mineworkers who unleashed a series of miners strikes during the mid-1980s to prevent the closure of uneconomic pits.

Britons are now being warned to brace for potential strikes in two weeks after socialist firebrand Lynch threatened to ‘continue with our industrial campaign until we get a negotiated settlement’. 

The RMT’s National Executive Committee can announce further strike dates with just two weeks’ notice. Network Rail is expecting a decision on new strike dates to be made as early as next week. 

Whitehall and railway officials fear the next wave could begin on July 9 in a blow to summer holidaymakers.

‘Absolute mess. Even if it arrives (unlikely) I really don’t want to check it in for the return journey!’ 

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: ‘We apologise unreservedly for the technical issues with our baggage systems that impacted passengers over the weekend. 

‘We are working around the clock with airlines to reunite passengers with their bags. 

‘For the latest information regarding individual bags, we ask that passengers check with their airline.’ 

Passengers travelling from Stansted Airport have been forced to sleep on the floor, before staff ‘scream’ at them to get up. 

One traveller said: ‘Complete chaos in Stansted Airport every single night. 

‘People sleeping all over the check arrivals gate missing flights and being stranded without bags or any taxis to go home.

‘Airport workers screaming at people to get up. Horrible situation and horrible third world country.’

Thousands of flights have been cancelled by British Airways, easyJet, TUI and Wizz Air, with some being axed at the last-minute, leaving thousands of passengers in the lurch and creating carnage at airports.

On Monday easyJet announced it would be axing more than 10,000 flights from its July-September schedule after coming under fire from thousands of customers who suffered last-minute cancellations.

Announcing the landing slots move on Monday night, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘It’s crucial they don’t face disappointing last-minute cancellations and chaos at airports when the system can’t deliver, and I will do everything in my power to stop that.

‘Today’s announcement aims to help airlines provide certainty to passengers and ensure the next few months are as smooth as possible.’

Aviation minister Robert Courts added: ‘We cannot have a situation where passengers arrive at the airport just to have their flight cancelled or face long delays.’

Landing slots are like parking spaces for planes and are used to manage capacity at the busiest airports.

A slot gives permission to use the full range of airport infrastructure necessary to operate an aircraft and are highly valuable commercial assets.

Airlines must use slots a certain amount of times – currently 70 per cent of the time – each season in order to keep them.

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said: ‘This is a welcome step which will help build greater resilience into operations this summer, coming on top of measures already taken by the sector.

‘We will continue to work with ministers and the whole aviation eco-system to ensure the summer peak runs as smoothly as possible for our passengers.’ 

Passengers across Britain have been warned that they should brace for a ‘less than satisfactory’ experience while travelling in the next few months.

Ryanair’s boss yesterday warned that chaos at Britain’s big airports will continue ‘right throughout the summer’ amid scenes of mayhem at Manchester and Heathrow.

Michael O’Leary has claimed that the Government’s Covid lockdowns and general ‘mismanagement’ forced airport chiefs to impose mass layoffs which caused the staffing shortages now plaguing air traffic control, baggage handling and security.

‘This problem is going to continue particularly at airports like Gatwick and Heathrow right throughout the summer. It will be worse at weekends and better during the week,’ he told Sky News.

Holidaymakers at Stansted Airport have been forced to sleep on the floor overnight after missing flights because of huge check-in queues. Passengers also claim that airport staff 'scream' at them to move despite being stranded

Holidaymakers at Stansted Airport have been forced to sleep on the floor overnight after missing flights because of huge check-in queues. Passengers also claim that airport staff ‘scream’ at them to move despite being stranded

Passengers at Heathrow Terminal 3 today also complained of being in immigration queues for up to two hours today

Passengers at Heathrow Terminal 3 today also complained of being in immigration queues for up to two hours today

Passengers at Manchester Airport were left waiting for hours in the busy check-in desks. Further airport chaos is expected after easyJet announced a further 100,000 cancellations

Passengers at Manchester Airport were left waiting for hours in the busy check-in desks. Further airport chaos is expected after easyJet announced a further 100,000 cancellations 

Mr O’Leary said that 25 per cent of Ryanair flights last weekend were delayed by air traffic control issues, and a further 15 per cent by airports handling delays.

He added that Brexit was compounding the disruption caused as demand ramps up after pandemic restrictions were lifted, with airports unable to hire workers from abroad to fill posts. 

Heathrow and Gatwick have urged airlines to cancel thousands of flights this summer as they fight to regain control, while easyJet started axing 10,000 flights to European holiday hotspots including Greece, Italy and Spain from July through to September. 

In another blow to travellers, easyJet’s Spain-based cabin crew will go on strike for nine days in July if their demands for higher pay from the budget airline are not met.

Workers will walk out on July 1-3, 15-17, and 29-31, potentially adding to travel woes as the sector struggles to cope with rebounding demand.

The airline’s flight attendants in Spain are demanding a 40 per cent increase in their basic salaries, according to union USO.

The announcement comes as passengers continue to face chaos at UK airports, as understaffed airports struggle to cope.

Passengers at Stansted Airport today slept on the floor as they awaited updates on the their flight delays

Passengers at Stansted Airport today slept on the floor as they awaited updates on the their flight delays 

Transport Minister Grant Schapps said it was 'crucial' that holidaymakers are not left stranded when the systems can't deliver. He pledged to do everything he could to help stop the chaos ahead of summer travels. Pictured: Passengers at Heathrow Airport this morning

Transport Minister Grant Schapps said it was ‘crucial’ that holidaymakers are not left stranded when the systems can’t deliver. He pledged to do everything he could to help stop the chaos ahead of summer travels. Pictured: Passengers at Heathrow Airport this morning

Ryanair's boss yesterday warned that chaos at Britain's big airports will continue 'right throughout the summer' amid scenes of mayhem at Manchester and Heathrow

Ryanair’s boss yesterday warned that chaos at Britain’s big airports will continue ‘right throughout the summer’ amid scenes of mayhem at Manchester and Heathrow

EasyJet has announced it would be cutting an estimated 11,000 flights from its summer schedules, which analysts think will cost the company between £100 million and £200 million this year.  

It comes after the former boss of British Airways said Heathrow is ‘not capable of delivering the basic product they are due to deliver’. 

Willie Walsh said of Heathrow, Schiphol in Amsterdam and Dublin: ‘It is interesting that the three airports I mention in terms of significant charging increases are also the three that have experienced the most disruption in recent weeks.

‘It really does lead you to question the management executives of these airports that are not even capable of delivering the basic product they produce. I will continue to call on these airports to get their acts in order.’

As Heathrow staff vote to go on strike and ruin thousands of holidays… the union fat cats who make four-times their members’ salaries while leading ordinary workers to the picket-line

A group of union leaders threatening to spark a summer of discontent in Britain are raking in six-figure pay deals – some four-times higher than the workers they are leading to the picket line – MailOnline can reveal.

Analysis shows how union chiefs are taking home staggering salaries, topped up with bumper benefit packages – including in some cases travel costs, personal cars and sizeable pension contributions.

The union chiefs and their pay deals and those of the workers they represent 

Manuel Cortes (TSSA) 

Remuneration package: £121,773

Average transport worker: £31,000

Mick Lynch (RMT) 

Remuneration package: £124,000

Average transport worker: £31,000

Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted (NEU)

Collective remuneration package: £266,830 (£219,848 in respect of salary and £46,982 in respect of benefits)

Average teacher: £38,400

Dr Patrick Roach (NASWUT)

Remuneration package: £185,111

Average teacher: £38,400

Dr Chaand Nagpaul (BMA)

Remuneration package: £203,633

Average medical practitioners: £56,869

Dave Ward (CWU) 

Remuneration package: £143,000

Average postman: £24,596

Gary Smith (GMB)

Remuneration package: Not publicly available yet as he only took over last year. Believed to be six figures. His predecessor Tim Roache received a bumper £288,000 package in his final year but before that the figure was around £110,000.

Average airport check in staff: £26,276

Despite preaching ‘solidarity’ with working class people, some are earning upwards of £100,000-a-year – more than double the salary for an average UK worker.

And in some cases the pay deal is nearly four times the salaries of their workers, who ultimately voted for the strike but stand to lose vital income by not crossing the picket lines.

It comes as the GMB union today announced BA check-in staff at Heathrow had voted for industrial action in a pay dispute that will result in summer holidays being ruined for thousands of families.

BA said that the unions had rejected a 10 per cent pay offer in favour of walkouts as early as next month, potentially during the school holidays.

However, union chiefs claim check-in staff had lost 10 per cent pay during the pandemic and that the airline’s offer was a one-time ‘bonus’ and its members wanted the full salary returned. 

GMB is headed-up by Gary Smith, a long-term Scottish trade unionist and supporter of Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership, who was elected as General Secretary in June last year. 

His salary and pay deal has not yet been made public, due to him only taking up position in June last year, but is believed to be six-figures.

His predecessor, Tim Roache, resigned in 2021, after six years at the helm, on the grounds of ill health. But after his resignation the union received letters making allegations about his conduct – allegations he denied.

A report commissioned to investigate the allegations found that ‘bullying, misogyny, cronyism and sexual harassment’ were ‘endemic’ in the GMB, which was described as ‘institutionally sexist’.

His final year pay deal totaled a staggering £288,000 –  a salary of £222,000 and, among other perks, nearly £8,000 on a personal car. The year before Roach’s pay packet was £160,000, including a salary of £109,000 – more in keeping with other union bosses.

Meanwhile, Mick Lynch, who heads up the militant RMT, a union which has crippled the country by calling a national rail strike, is on a sizeable £124,000-a-year package as General Secretary.

He has reportedly earned £763,000 in salary and benefits since joining the RMT in 2015.

Meanwhile, the average salary of rail workers is around £31,772, according to the latest ONS data.

His fellow rail union baron, Manuel Cortes, of the TSSA, raked in a total remuneration of £121,773 in 2020, including £18,151 in pension contributions.

He is also currently at the centre of a sexual harassment row following claims by a former organiser that he harassed her during a Christmas party in 2018.

Cortes vehemently denies harassment and has apologised for any hurt caused by his behaviour.

Last month, The Guardian reported that the union had enforced a non-disclosure agreement to stop the female employee repeating sexual harassment claims against Mr Cortes.

Mick Lynch (pictured), who heads up the militant RMT, a union which has crippled the country by calling a national rail strike, is on a sizeable £124,000-a-year package as General Secretary

Mick Lynch (pictured), who heads up the militant RMT, a union which has crippled the country by calling a national rail strike, is on a sizeable £124,000-a-year package as General Secretary 

Manuel Cortes (pictured), of the TSSA, raked in a total remuneration of £121,773 in 2020, including £18,151 in pension contributions

Manuel Cortes (pictured), of the TSSA, raked in a total remuneration of £121,773 in 2020, including £18,151 in pension contributions

According to the NEU's own publically available data, released earlier this year, the General Secretaries of the union, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney (pictured), were paid £219,848 in respect of salary and £46,982 in respect of benefits for the 12 months ended August 2021

According to the NEU’s own publically available data, released earlier this year, the General Secretaries of the union, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney (pictured), were paid £219,848 in respect of salary and £46,982 in respect of benefits for the 12 months ended August 2021

Meanwhile, his union, which have warned of strike action but have not yet joined the national strike, yesterday accepted a 7.1 per cent pay deal with MerseyRail. 

Arthur Scargill returns to the picket lines for second time in week as he joins rail workers on day two of train strikes 

Former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers Arthur Scargill has been spotted on the picket line for a second day – standing in solidarity with Mick Lynch’s mass rail strikes.

The far left firebrand was previously seen with strikers from The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) at Westgate Train Station in Wakefield on Tuesday, as 80 per cent of train services came to a grinding halt.

Today, he joined RMT picketers in Sheffield for a second day of industrial action as they railed against the government, demanding a pay rise of at least seven per cent in line with the cost of living crisis.

Speaking to ITV today, Scargill said: ‘I think it should be the summer for the start of building a trade union and getting a socialist movement going in Britain.

‘It’s time that workers came together. As far as I’m concerned, I would call on every railway worker to come out on strike and force this government into retreat.’

Scargill remains a controversial figure on the left and famously led the National Union of Mineworkers’ strike in 1984.

Unlike previous strikes in 1972 and 1974, the industrial action failed to bring down the government – which had prepared by stockpiling coal. 

In June 1984, one of the most infamous episodes occurred, when police clashed with picketing miners in Rotherham.

In what became known as the ‘Battle or Orgreave’ between 10,000 policemen and 5,000 miners engaged each other. 

Police said they had acted in self-defence, but miners said the violence had been sparked by officers.

Ninety-five pitmen were arrested, but none successfully prosecuted. Some 39 cases of unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution were settled without an admission of liability by police.

From the start of 1985, the number of workers choosing to break strikes increased, as miners struggled to pay for food and union pay ran out. 

The industrial action finally came to an end on March 3, 1985, as miners voted to return to work.

Pit closures continued gradually throughout the 1980s and 1990s and the UK’s last working coalmine – Kellingley colliery in North Yorkshire – closed in 2005.

After the miners’ strike, Scargill was controversially elected as lifetime president of the NUM, before being accused of financial impropriety in the 1990s. 

In 1996, he founded the obscure Socialist Labour Party and remains its leader to this day. He finally stepped down from the NUM presidency in 2002. 

In 2016, Scargill was accused of hypocrisy after it emerged he had bought his London council flat using Margaret Thatcher’s flagship Right to Buy scheme.

He had initially applied to buy his then £1million home at a knock-down price in 1993 under the scheme but was turned down. 

He failed to mention in the paperwork that he did not pay rent.  Instead, the NUM paid £34,000 a year to the Corporation of London for it.

Scargill eventually succeeded in buying the home in January 2014.

Lynch, whose union represents 40,000 striking rail workers, told the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast: ‘I’m nostalgic for the power that we had and more nostalgic for the control and values that we had. People talk about the Winter of Discontent and the excesses of the trade union movement as it was styled and characterised. 

‘They had good reason for that because they had very powerful unions. I’m nostalgic for the balance we were creating. I think society was becoming rebalanced in the 70s.’

Scargill’s reappearance in Britain’s biggest rail strike in decades caught the attention of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who alluded to it an a fiery exchange with Labour leader Kier Starmer in the House of Commons yesterday.

Johnson, noting Scargill joined the pickets on Tuesday, said that Labour were ‘literally holding hands’ with the man who tried to bring Britain to its knees in the 1980s.

He said Labour was now ‘worse than under Jeremy Corbyn’, adding: ‘This is a government who are taking this country forward; they would take it back to the 1970s.’

Sir Keir, who took a vow of silence during yesterday’s strike, again refused to condemn the activists staging the biggest strike for 30 years.

But shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell said the RMT were ‘perfectly entitled’ to shut down Britain’s rail network.

‘Of course we don’t condemn the RMT for going out on strike,’ she said. ‘They are perfectly entitled to take industrial action in order to try and get themselves a better settlement.’

She said the Labour leadership was sitting on the sidelines in the dispute because ‘we aspire to be the party of government’.

Sir Keir claimed the Government was responsible for the strikes and told the PM: ‘Rather than blame everyone else, why does he not do his job, get round the table and get the trains running?’

 

The TSSA union announced it has accepted the ‘reasonable’ offer from the operator – overseen by Liverpool metro mayor Steve Rotheram.

But Government sources slammed Labour-run MerseyRail of ‘rolling over’ to union demands.

Other unions outside the rail industry have also warned of potential strike action later this year, including two teaching unions. 

The National Education Union (NEU) said it would consult its members in the autumn and ‘strongly encouraging them’ to back industrial action if the government does not respond to its concerns over high workloads and pay in the next few months.

The union has two joint general secretaries, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney.

According to the NEU’s own publically available data, released earlier this year, the General Secretaries of the union were paid £219,848 in respect of salary and £46,982 in respect of benefits for the 12 months ended August 2021. 

Meanwhile, the average Full Time Equivalent salary for the 461,088 teachers in state-funded schools was £41,800 per year according to the Government’s School Workforce in England Report in 2019. 

The average salary for a classroom teacher was £38,400 – though unqualified teachers earn anywhere between £18,169 and £28,735.

Mr Courtney, a former leader of the Socialist Teachers Alliance, and Ms Bousted earlier this week wrote to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, telling him he must show school staff they are valued by providing ‘undifferentiated inflation-plus pay rises for all teachers’.

In the letter the pair said that if a suitable offer is not provided by the autumn term that members will be ballotted on ‘their willingness to take industrial action’.

They said: ‘We will strongly be encouraging them to vote yes. We can no longer stand by while you run education and educators into the ground’.

Teaching union NASWUT has also said it will ballot members on industrial action if staff are not given a 12 per cent pay rise. 

NASWUT is headed-up by Dr Patrick Roach, who according to figures by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) had a pay deal of £185,111 between 2020 and 2021 – making him one of the highest paid union chiefs that year.

Top of the TPA’s ‘fat cat’ list last year was GMB General Secretary Tim Roache, who stepped down last year. He walked away with a staggering final year package of £288,000.

It comes Royal Mail workers are being egged on to strike by the Communication Workers Union, who are calling for a ‘no-strings’ pay rise.

The union became the latest to warn of potential strikes yesterday. It said workers would vote in the coming weeks on whether to mount a campaign of industrial action.

The union said it was planning industrial action due to Royal Mail’s  ‘inadequate’ 2 per cent pay award offer.

Around 115,000 Communication Workers Union (CWU) members will be voting on the industrial action.  

The union’s General Secretary is Dave Ward, who enjoyed a pay deal of £143,000 in the year ending December 2019 – the latest figures available from the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

Ward backed Jeremy Corbyn in Labour’s 2019 election defeat. Writing ahead of the vote on Twitter, he said: ‘Winning this election and changing the country for the better isn’t just down to Jeremy Corbyn.

‘Unions, activists and working people have to step up if we want to #DitchTheTories

‘I pledge to campaign, have those difficult conversations and leave nothing behind. You with me?’.

While Ward enjoys a tidy £143,000 pay deal, the average wage for a postal worker in the UK is £24,596, according to GlassDoor.

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that it could launch another junior doctors strike.

The union is headed up by Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who is the Council chair and general secretary.

According to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Dr Nagpaul raked in a remuneration package of £203,633 in the year to 2021.  

The figure represents an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year. His salary of £180,000 was over six times what a foundation (FY1) doctor earned in 2021 (£28,808). 

His union has called on the government to compensate junior doctors for the real-term pay cuts suffered since 2008.

And the union said that if its demands were not met within six months, it could hold a ballot on industrial action early in 2023.

Junior doctors can earn between £29,384 to £34,012 according to the NHS, but salaries beyond junior level differ wildly – sometimes up into the hundreds of thousands.

According to Talent.com the average doctors salary in the United Kingdom is £72,000 per year, while ONS figures show the average wage for medical practitioners is £56,869.

According to the NHS specialty doctor earn a basic salary of £50,373 to £78,759, and up to £91,584 as a specialist grade doctor. Constants can earn up to £114,003 per year.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which represents almost half a million healthcare workers, has also said it is considering industrial action.

It says a pay rise five percentage points above inflation is needed to retain staff and attract recruits to the profession.

The union says it is waiting to see the recommendations of the NHS pay review body, and the government’s response, before deciding on a course of action.

NASWUT is headed-up by Dr Patrick Roach (pictured), who according to figures by the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) had a pay deal of £185,111 between 2020 and 2021 - making him one of the highest paid union chiefs that year

NASWUT is headed-up by Dr Patrick Roach (pictured), who according to figures by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) had a pay deal of £185,111 between 2020 and 2021 – making him one of the highest paid union chiefs that year

It comes Royal Mail workers are being egged on to strike by the Communication Workers Union, who are calling for a 'no-strings' pay rise. While Ward (pictured) enjoys a tidy £143,000 pay deal, the average wage for a postal worker in the UK is £24,596, according to GlassDoor

It comes Royal Mail workers are being egged on to strike by the Communication Workers Union, who are calling for a ‘no-strings’ pay rise. While Ward (pictured) enjoys a tidy £143,000 pay deal, the average wage for a postal worker in the UK is £24,596, according to GlassDoor

According to the TaxPayers' Alliance, Dr Nagpaul (pictured) raked in a remuneration package of £203,633 in the year to 2021

According to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Dr Nagpaul (pictured) raked in a remuneration package of £203,633 in the year to 2021

The RCN currently has a new general secretary, Pat Cullen, who took over from Dame Donna Kinnair. Her remuneration package has not yet been publicised. However Dame Donna’s package was £197,000-a-year.

Dame Donna, who quit in 2020, faced an investigation over claims that she had accepted hospitality from financier George Farha while on holiday in Morocco.

She was also accused of holding four meetings with then Health Secretary Matt Hancock without telling RCN officials and for failing to declare earnings from other organisations.

Within a fortnight of the probe being launched, the RCN and Dame Donna struck a deal for her to walk away with a £135,000 payoff and an understanding that the entire episode would be kept secret.

Dame Donna, 60, now has a role with the Burdett Trust for Nursing, a charitable trust. 

England’s greatest striker? Gary Lineker graces the picket line in Manchester and poses for photos with striking rail workers while crowds wait for buses and UK is paralysed by staff demanding huge pay rise

BBC football pundit Gary Lineker today posed for photos with Mick Lynch’s striking rail workers on a picket line outside Manchester Piccadilly.

The former England ace smiled for the camera as he walked past the militant RMT members with a Pret coffee this morning, while dozens of Glastonbury revellers lined the streets of Manchester waiting for buses to take them to Somerset.

Sharing the photo on Twitter, Manchester South RMT posted: ‘@GaryLineker standing with the @RMTunion track workers on strike! Solidarity!’

Mick Lynch’s second strike ‘lockdown’: How Britain’s trains will be hit by mass walkouts

TRAINS

RMT action is affecting several operators today and Saturday. 

The operators running a limited service today are: Avanti West Coast, c2c, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Eurostar, Grand Central, Great Northern, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Heathrow Express, Hull Trains, LNER, London Northwestern Railway, Lumo, Northern, ScotRail, South Western Railway, Southeastern, Southern, Stansted Express, Thameslink, TransPennine Express, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for Wales, West Midlands Railway.

There is also a strike by Croydon Tramlink on June 28 and June 29, and on July 13 and July 14). An Aslef strike on Hull Trains on Sunday (June 26) has been called off.

Rail workers have gone on picket lines in cities across the country including Bristol, Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds. In Sheffield, they were even joined by Thatcher’s arch-rival Arthur Scargill, the former boss of the National Union of Mineworkers who unleashed a series of miners strikes during the mid-1980s to prevent the closure of uneconomic pits.

Britons are now being warned to brace for potential strikes in two weeks after socialist firebrand Lynch threatened to ‘continue with our industrial campaign until we get a negotiated settlement’. The RMT’s National Executive Committee can announce further strike dates with just two weeks’ notice. Network Rail is expecting a decision on new strike dates to be made as early as next week. Whitehall and railway officials fear the next wave could begin on July 9 in a blow to summer holidaymakers.

Just 20% of trains are running today, with rail lines will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm today. Members of the drivers’ union Aslef on Greater Anglia are also striking today in a separate dispute over pay. Though Tube workers are not on strike today, this morning there are delays and part suspensions on the Bakerloo, Elizabeth and Hammersmith & City Lines and the Overground.

This morning, King’s Cross/St Pancras, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Street station and Newcastle Central were all deserted as people were again forced to WFH.

Traffic congestion on London’s roads increased during rush hour today, and was actually higher between 8am and 9am compared to last week, at 83% between 8am and 9am this morning versus 75% during the same hour last Tuesday, according to data from traffic analyst TomTom. There were 1,930 traffic jams in London, covering a total length of 830 miles. However, it was still significantly up on 48% on Monday, the day before the industrial action began. And it was also an increase on the 52% recorded in that time slot on Tuesday last week.

Ministers fear Britain could face a summer of strikes as unions flex their muscles in pursuit of inflation-busting pay rises.

The National Education Union yesterday warned that schools could be next in line for strike action unless ministers stump up ‘inflation-plus pay increases for all teachers’. Unions representing doctors, nurses, civil servants and postal workers are also threatening industrial action over pay. Some have even demanded settlements 5% above inflation – which yesterday hit 9.1%.

It comes as the Government plots to rush forward new laws today which end the ban on using agency workers to break strikes.

MANCHESTER: BBC pundit Gary Lineker today posed for a photo with striking rail workers outside Manchester Piccadilly

MANCHESTER: BBC pundit Gary Lineker today posed for a photo with striking rail workers outside Manchester Piccadilly

Manchester South RMT posted: '@GaryLineker standing with the @RMTunion track workers on strike! Solidarity!'

Manchester South RMT posted: ‘@GaryLineker standing with the @RMTunion track workers on strike! Solidarity!’

MANCHESTER: Revellers line the streets of Manchester waiting for buses to take them to Glastonbury today

MANCHESTER: Revellers line the streets of Manchester waiting for buses to take them to Glastonbury today

More than 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Mick Lynch's rail strikes. The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last Tuesday - lower even than during the peak of December's Omicron scare. Yesterday occupancy levels rose to 23%, according to data from tech company Freespace

More than 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Mick Lynch’s rail strikes. The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last Tuesday – lower even than during the peak of December’s Omicron scare. Yesterday occupancy levels rose to 23%, according to data from tech company Freespace

MANCHESTER: Glastonbury revellers line the streets of Manchester waiting for buses today

MANCHESTER: Glastonbury revellers line the streets of Manchester waiting for buses today 

NEWCASTLE: RMT members outside Newcastle station as train services are disrupted by the national strikes today

NEWCASTLE: RMT members outside Newcastle station as train services are disrupted by the national strikes today

MANCHESTER: RMT workers outside Manchester train station with speakerphones and pickets on the table today

MANCHESTER: RMT workers outside Manchester train station with speakerphones and pickets on the table today

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch outside Euston station in London today as he appears on ITV's Good Morning Britain

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch outside Euston station in London today as he appears on ITV’s Good Morning Britain

KINGS CROSS: Kings Cross Station was deserted this morning as millions of commuters face a third day of chaos

KINGS CROSS: Kings Cross Station was deserted this morning as millions of commuters face a third day of chaos

BIRMINGHAM: Birmingham Grand Central station is deserted this morning on the second day of national rail strikes

BIRMINGHAM: Birmingham Grand Central station is deserted this morning on the second day of national rail strikes

MANCHESTER: An almost deserted Manchester Piccadilly station this morning on the second day of mass strikes

MANCHESTER: An almost deserted Manchester Piccadilly station this morning on the second day of mass strikes

STRATFORD: Empty platforms at Stratford station this morning as train services are disrupted by the national strikes

STRATFORD: Empty platforms at Stratford station this morning as train services are disrupted by the national strikes

NEWCASTLE: A deserted Newcastle station this morning as Mick Lynch's RMT goes on strike

NEWCASTLE: A deserted Newcastle station this morning as Mick Lynch’s RMT goes on strike

EUSTON: A single passenger looks at the departures board at Euston station in London this morning

EUSTON: A single passenger looks at the departures board at Euston station in London this morning

EDINBURGH: Passengers at a quiet Edinburgh Waverley station this morning as rail workers go on strike

EDINBURGH: Passengers at a quiet Edinburgh Waverley station this morning as rail workers go on strike

LIVERPOOL STREET: A railway worker checks his phone as he waits by tickets at Liverpool Street station in London today

LIVERPOOL STREET: A railway worker checks his phone as he waits by tickets at Liverpool Street station in London today

EDINBURGH: Empty platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station this morning on the second day of national rail strikes

EDINBURGH: Empty platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station this morning on the second day of national rail strikes

RMT members join picket lines in cities across the UK including Bristol, Leeds and Nottingham this morning

RMT members join picket lines in cities across the UK including Bristol, Leeds and Nottingham this morning

WESTMINSTER: Commuters cycle through Parliament Square in Westminster on their way to work today

WESTMINSTER: Commuters cycle through Parliament Square in Westminster on their way to work today

SALFORD: A six-mile traffic jam builds along the A580 near Salford this morning

SALFORD: A six-mile traffic jam builds along the A580 near Salford this morning

GREENWICH: Traffic queues on the A102M Blackwall Tunnel approach in Greenwich this morning

GREENWICH: Traffic queues on the A102M Blackwall Tunnel approach in Greenwich this morning

Traffic congestion on London's roads increased during rush hour today, and was actually higher between 8am and 9am compared to last week, at 83% between 8am and 9am this morning versus 75% during the same hour last Tuesday, according to data from traffic analyst TomTom. There were 1,930 traffic jams in London, covering a total length of 830 miles

Traffic congestion on London’s roads increased during rush hour today, and was actually higher between 8am and 9am compared to last week, at 83% between 8am and 9am this morning versus 75% during the same hour last Tuesday, according to data from traffic analyst TomTom. There were 1,930 traffic jams in London, covering a total length of 830 miles

PERIVALE: Heavy traffic queues on the A40 at Perivale in West London today as commuters battle to get into work

PERIVALE: Heavy traffic queues on the A40 at Perivale in West London today as commuters battle to get into work 

PETERBOROUGH: Trains waiting in sidings near Peterborough station on the second day of the nationwide rail strike today

PETERBOROUGH: Trains waiting in sidings near Peterborough station on the second day of the nationwide rail strike today

AVANTI WEST COAST: The operator plans to run one train per hour on strike days from London Euston to each of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Preston, with a limited service onwards to Glasgow. The last trains will leave Euston mid-afternoon. There will be no Avanti West Coast services to North Wales, Shrewsbury, Blackpool and Edinburgh on strike days

AVANTI WEST COAST: The operator plans to run one train per hour on strike days from London Euston to each of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Preston, with a limited service onwards to Glasgow. The last trains will leave Euston mid-afternoon. There will be no Avanti West Coast services to North Wales, Shrewsbury, Blackpool and Edinburgh on strike days

c2c: The operator providing services for Essex will run two trains per hour from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Laindon; two trains per hour from Fenchurch Street to Pitsea via Rainham; and no trains via Ockendon or Chafford Hundred

c2c: The operator providing services for Essex will run two trains per hour from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Laindon; two trains per hour from Fenchurch Street to Pitsea via Rainham; and no trains via Ockendon or Chafford Hundred

CHILTERN RAILWAYS: The service will be extremely limited on the strike days, with the following pattern expected

CHILTERN RAILWAYS: The service will be extremely limited on the strike days, with the following pattern expected

CROSSCOUNTRY: The network will be running a 'significantly reduced service' on the strike days next week as shown above

CROSSCOUNTRY: The network will be running a ‘significantly reduced service’ on the strike days next week as shown above

EAST MIDLANDS RAILWAY: The operator will run one train per hour between Nottingham and London, Sheffield and London, Corby and London, Derby and Matlock, Derby and Nottingham, Leicester and Nottingham and Nottingham and Sheffield

EAST MIDLANDS RAILWAY: The operator will run one train per hour between Nottingham and London, Sheffield and London, Corby and London, Derby and Matlock, Derby and Nottingham, Leicester and Nottingham and Nottingham and Sheffield

Gary Lineker’s political forays: Ex-England ace-turned-BBC star slammed Cummings’ lockdown-busting Barnard Castle trip, called for the defeat of Brexit and urged Trident to be scrapped  

As one of England’s most successful strikers, Gary Lineker could have quite comfortably enjoyed an early retirement when he quit professional football.

Instead, he has delighted football fans as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day since the 1990s – and even later became the face of Walkers crisps.

But in recent years, Lineker, now 61, has waded into political matters and freely spoken his mind – even risking the BBC’s strict impartiality rules to weight in on Brexit, the Government’s handlinf of the Covid pandemic, and even Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

TRIDENT

Lineker has repeatedly called for the abolition of Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Calling the weapons programme ‘madness’, he has said that retaining Trident at all increases the risk of a thermonuclear war.

In a now-deleted tweet posted on February 24 this year, the day Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine, Lineker said: ‘All those trillions spent on a so called nuclear deterrent. Madness’.

After removing the tweet, he said: ‘To be clear it was a general wish that nukes didn’t exist anywhere. They may have stopped wars, although hypothetical, thus far, but it only needs one madman to launch one, and we’re all screwed.’

In 2019, Lineker rushed to Jeremy Corbyn’s defence in an online spat with Piers Morgan by arguing that Trident should be scrapped.

BREXIT

In 2018, Lineker declared that blocking Brexit was more important to him than football as he backed a campaign for a fresh referendum.

The Match Of The Day host said he was more bewildered and worried than ever after catching up on developments after returning from Russia following his coverage of the World Cup.

He threw his support behind the People’s Vote ‘summer of action’ that included a series of rallies and protests across the UK.

Lineker said at the time: ‘I spent most of the last few weeks totally focused on a fantastic World Cup. But it was impossible to avoid what was happening in the Brexit debate back home. Now I’m back I find the whole thing more bewildering and worrying than ever.

‘Whether you voted Leave or Remain, did anyone really vote for the mess we seem to be in, let alone the prospect of no deal with all the terrible consequences attached to that? There are some things in life that, even for someone like me, are more important than football. This is one of them. I am not a politician but I know when something is going wrong and right now Brexit feels like it is going very wrong indeed.

‘The politicians seem unable to resolve the problem the people gave them in voting to Leave. That is why I think there should be a People’s Vote on the final deal, and why I am sending best wishes and good luck to the campaigners who will be stepping up the pressure over the summer.’

COVID

After Dominic Cummings made his infamous lockdown-busting trip to Barnard Castle in May 2020, Boris Johnson’s Government denied that the chief aide broke Covid rules.

Lineker angrily hit out at the PM with a short tweet: ‘Please. Stop. Lying.’

But for this, the former England star was rapped on the knuckles by the BBC’s Simon McCoy, who accused him of ‘abusing his position’ and breaking impartiality rules by calling Mr Johnson a liar.

Lineker refused to back down and told the news anchor that it was he who did not understand the broadcaster’s rules for staff.

‘Check the rules,’ he said. ‘That only applies to those who work in news or current affairs. I speak for me. No one else. Good day.’

Speaking from Rwanda, Boris Johnson said that the rail strikes this week are ‘unnecessary’ and stressed the benefits of ‘sensible reforms’ of the rail system.

‘I just think it is important to remember that these strikes are unnecessary. I think people should get around the table and sort it out,’ the Prime Minister said.

Speaking about the rail strikes, he said he wanted a ‘great future’ for British railways.

He continued: ‘This is a Government that is investing more in railways than any previous Government in the last 50 years. To have a great future for rail, for railway workers and their families, we have got to have some sensible reforms and that is things like reforming ticket offices – I did a huge amount of that when I was running London.

‘It is stuff that maybe the union barons are more attached to perhaps than their workers. I think the strikes are a terrible idea.’

It comes as fresh data shows that more than 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of Lynch’s rail strikes.

The average office occupancy in the capital was just 9% on Tuesday compared with 42% per cent last week – lower even than during the peak of December’s Omicron scare.

Occupancy levels yesterday rose to 23%, according to data from technology company Freespace shared with MailOnline. Across the UK, the average occupancy was 22%, just over half of the normal rate of 40%. Before the pandemic, average office occupancy nation-wide was around 60%.

Broadband provider Virgin Media O2 said it recorded an increase in usage of up to 10% on the first day of the strikes, indicating that ‘millions more people are working from home’ this week. 

The fresh data demonstrates that militant Lynch has dealt a crippling blow to Boris Johnson ‘s anti-WFH drive by effectively plunging Britain back into ‘another lockdown ‘.

Today’s mass walkout is also likely to inflict another devastating blow to the UK’s flailing economy, with experts warning that the strike action could clobber the beleaguered hospitality sector by £500million this week alone. The Night-Time Industries Association has today warned that businesses are suffering up to 40% lost trade due to the strikes.

Comparing it to the darkest days of the Covid shutdowns, chief executive Michael Kill said: ‘Long-term strike action will lead to an irreparable loss of business and jobs, after so much hard work has been put into recovery in the last 12 months.’

And this morning, Mick Whitley, the MP for Birkenhead, joined RMT members outside Liverpool Lime Street station as he blamed the Government for the strikes. Yesterday Boris Johnson slammed Sir Keir for refusing to condemn activists staging the biggest strike for 30 years.

Frances O’Grady, head of the TUC, also slammed the anti-strike laws as ‘unworkable’. She said: ‘Bringing in less qualified agency staff to deliver important services will endanger public safety, worsen disputes and poison industrial relations.’

RMT assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey said he thinks ‘the public is behind us’.

He told the PA news agency: ‘They understand it’s a scandal that billions are being ripped out of our industry at the same time workers are being punished.

‘Teachers, they’re facing a cost-of-living crisis, (also) posties, telecoms workers, health workers. We think there’s going to be more demands for increases in pay in the economy and we think that’s right. It’s about time Britain had a pay rise. Wages have been falling for 30 years and corporate profits have been going through the roof.’

However, Elizabeth Line passengers faced fresh disruption on Thursday morning as vandalism forced the operator to close part of the track.

Commuters heading towards Shenfield will have to change at Liverpool Street for the Central Line, then back to the Elizabeth Line at Stratford to continue their journey.

‘Somebody threw something on the track between Stratford and Liverpool Street,’ one staff member said at Liverpool Street station. ‘I don’t know why, some people are just not OK.’

At Liverpool Lime Street station there were a handful of passengers waiting for trains this morning.

Just four trains were scheduled to depart from the usually busy terminal between 8.30am and 10am, two to London Euston and two to Alderley Edge in Cheshire, via Manchester.

Mr Whitley said: ‘I think every Labour MP should come out. Let’s have it right, the Labour Party was born out of the trade union movement and they are our political voice in Parliament so every Labour MP should be out.’

He said a pay deal reached with Merseyrail reinforced the argument that the Government was ‘manufacturing the dispute’.

‘We don’t want to mess up people’s travel arrangements but if you’re pushed into a corner you have got to do something,’ he added.

RMT regional council secretary Darren Pilling said the reaction to the picket line at Liverpool Lime Street station had been supportive.

He said: ‘Although we’re being told we are on our own and people don’t support our actions, people do understand exactly what this is all about because every one else is suffering just as much as we are. I stood here for eight hours on Tuesday and had nothing but support and praise from people.’

Mr Pilling said he believed the dispute could be resolved if the union was allowed to speak to managers without Government involvement.

He added: ‘I genuinely hope this is the last time we’ll be stood outside Liverpool Lime Street for a long time. I want to be going about my normal business. But, we will not meekly stand by and allow our members to be treated in such an abominable manner.’

Crowds of holidaymakers fretted about missing their flights as train delays left them stuck at London’s Liverpool Street station.

The Stansted Express normally leaves twice an hour from Britain’s third-busiest station, but strike action has reduced this down to one.

PICCADILLY CIRCUS: A quiet Piccadilly Circus in central London this morning on the second day of national strikes

PICCADILLY CIRCUS: A quiet Piccadilly Circus in central London this morning on the second day of national strikes

CITY OF LONDON: Moorgate in the City of London is quiet as town and city centres are deserted by Mick Lynch's strikes

CITY OF LONDON: Moorgate in the City of London is quiet as town and city centres are deserted by Mick Lynch’s strikes 

BIRMINGHAM: The streets of Birmingham city centre were quiet this morning as RMT workers go on strike

BIRMINGHAM: The streets of Birmingham city centre were quiet this morning as RMT workers go on strike 

SALFORD: A six-mile traffic jam builds up on the A580 near Salford this morning

SALFORD: A six-mile traffic jam builds up on the A580 near Salford this morning

WESTMINSTER: A group of cyclists pass Parliament Square in Westminster this morning on their way to work

WESTMINSTER: A group of cyclists pass Parliament Square in Westminster this morning on their way to work

BIRMINGHAM: Commuters clamber onto buses in Birmingham today as strikes paralyse the UK

BIRMINGHAM: Commuters clamber onto buses in Birmingham today as strikes paralyse the UK 

BARNHAM: Signs at the closed Barnham train station in West Sussex this morning

BARNHAM: Signs at the closed Barnham train station in West Sussex this morning

BIRMINGHAM: Busy roads as commuters drive into Birmingham city centre today on the second day of rail strikes

BIRMINGHAM: Busy roads as commuters drive into Birmingham city centre today on the second day of rail strikes

PERIVALE: As the second day of rail strikes gets underway, heavy traffic is pictured on all three lanes on the A40

PERIVALE: As the second day of rail strikes gets underway, heavy traffic is pictured on all three lanes on the A40

NEWCASTLE: Empty platforms at Newcastle station this morning as RMT workers across Britain go on strike

NEWCASTLE: Empty platforms at Newcastle station this morning as RMT workers across Britain go on strike

PETERBOROUGH: Freight trains beside the East Coast main lines in Peterborough today

PETERBOROUGH: Freight trains beside the East Coast main lines in Peterborough today

GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY: On strike days, a limited service will operate between 7.30am and 6.30pm on the green routes

GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY: On strike days, a limited service will operate between 7.30am and 6.30pm on the green routes

GREATER ANGLIA: The normal route map for Greater Anglia is pictured. The network will be running a much-reduced service

GREATER ANGLIA: The normal route map for Greater Anglia is pictured. The network will be running a much-reduced service

HULL TRAINS: The operator will only be running between Doncaster and London King’s Cross on the three strike days

HULL TRAINS: The operator will only be running between Doncaster and London King’s Cross on the three strike days

LNER: The operator says it will be running only 38 per cent of its usual trains, with the last from London to Edinburgh at 2pm

LNER: The operator says it will be running only 38 per cent of its usual trains, with the last from London to Edinburgh at 2pm

LONDON NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY: The strike will have a significant impact on travel. Normal services are shown above

LONDON NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY: The strike will have a significant impact on travel. Normal services are shown above

NORTHERN RAIL: Only a fraction of the Northern Rail network will run on strike days. The full normal route map is pictured

NORTHERN RAIL: Only a fraction of the Northern Rail network will run on strike days. The full normal route map is pictured

SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY: There will be no trains beyond Southampton to Weymouth; or beyond Basingstoke to Exeter

SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY: There will be no trains beyond Southampton to Weymouth; or beyond Basingstoke to Exeter

LONDON -- This Transport for London map shows greyed-out lines for those that will be affected by disruption on Tuesday all day, and Wednesday morning. 'Severe disruption or no service' is expected on all Tube lines from the start of Tuesday until at least 8am on Wednesday. Only the Croydon Tramlink and Docklands Light Railway are shown as running normally

LONDON — This Transport for London map shows greyed-out lines for those that will be affected by disruption on Tuesday all day, and Wednesday morning. ‘Severe disruption or no service’ is expected on all Tube lines from the start of Tuesday until at least 8am on Wednesday. Only the Croydon Tramlink and Docklands Light Railway are shown as running normally

SOUTHEASTERN - Limited services set to run between London, Kent and East Sussex next week on June 21, 23 and 25

SOUTHEASTERN – Limited services set to run between London, Kent and East Sussex next week on June 21, 23 and 25

WEST MIDLANDS RAILWAY: The operator says the strike will have 'considerable impact'. Its normal route map is shown above

WEST MIDLANDS RAILWAY: The operator says the strike will have ‘considerable impact’. Its normal route map is shown above

TRANSPORT FOR WALES: Almost the entire Transport for Wales network (shown above) will be closed during the strike days

TRANSPORT FOR WALES: Almost the entire Transport for Wales network (shown above) will be closed during the strike days

SCOTRAIL: This map shows the normal network run by ScotRail. Only five lines will be able to run on strike days

SCOTRAIL: This map shows the normal network run by ScotRail. Only five lines will be able to run on strike days

GREAT NORTHERN, GATWICK EXPRESS, SOUTHERN AND THAMESLINK: This map from Govia Thameslink Railway shows the trains expected to operate on its network during strike action next week on June 21, 23 and 25 - a fraction of normal services

GREAT NORTHERN, GATWICK EXPRESS, SOUTHERN AND THAMESLINK: This map from Govia Thameslink Railway shows the trains expected to operate on its network during strike action next week on June 21, 23 and 25 – a fraction of normal services 

Class war! Now teachers threaten chaos for pupils over pay demands 

Teachers yesterday threatened to ballot for nationwide strikes unless they get an ‘inflation-plus’ pay rise this year.

The Left-wing National Education Union declared it will mobilise its 450,000 members in the autumn.

But Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said last night: ‘We have proposed the highest pay awards in a generation for new teachers – 16.7 per cent over the next two years – alongside further pay awards for more experienced teachers.

‘Young people have suffered more disruption to their education than any generation that’s gone before, and it’s the vital work of teachers that is helping them get back on track.’

The threatened action could force some schools to close or keep year-groups at home, causing chaos for working parents who will have to find childcare. Struggling pupils are still catching up on work they missed during the months of lockdown.

The Education Secretary said such a move would be ‘irresponsible’ in the wake of the upheaval to children’s learning caused by the pandemic.

He wrote in The Daily Telegraph: ‘Young people have suffered more disruption than any generation that’s gone before them and to compound that now, as recovery is in full swing and families are thinking about their next big step following school or college, would be unforgivable.’

It is understood the NEU will be lobbying for a pay rise of up to 12 per cent for all teachers. The union rejects a suggested 3 per cent rise.

Last night, critics said pupils’ education had already suffered too much in the pandemic. Molly Kingsley of parent group UsForThem said: ‘It’s time for bickering adults to get a grip and focus on the pupils who have already lost so much school time over the last two years.’

One man, who was returning to Sofia in Bulgaria after three days in London, complained in broken English that the experience was ‘stressful’.

Asked how much longer he expected to wait, the man – who had been stranded at the station for half an hour – said: ‘I don’t know, I’m just looking at the board, I hope not too long.I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating because I’m here on holidays, but it’s a bit stressful’.

RMT negotiators last night stormed out of talks to avert today’s strikes after Network Rail wrote a letter saying it was going ahead with 1,800 staff cuts.

The union, which is striking over jobs and pay, said it would not get back around the table unless the letter was withdrawn, sparking a furious stand-off. It means another 24-hour walkout on the railways will go ahead today, with another on Saturday looking almost certain. 

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch took aim at the Transport Secretary, saying: ‘Grant Shapps has wrecked these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for… our members.

‘Until the Government unshackles Network Rail and the train operating companies, it is not going to be possible for a negotiated settlement to be agreed.’

Mr Shapps branded Lynch a liar and called on the union to ‘stop wasting time’ and get back to the negotiating table.

The row came as it emerged the RMT was informally offered a rise of more than 3 per cent in return for modernised work practices.

Rail chiefs have accused union barons of holding the country to ransom over ‘archaic’ methods which see up to nine engineers sent just to ‘change a plug socket’.

Commuters faced more misery yesterday as union tactics meant only 60 per cent of services were able to run because of the knock-on from Tuesday’s strikes.

Huge crowds built up outside Tube and rail stations, with some opening as late as 8.30am during rush hour. Network Rail signallers and control room staff who would usually have worked overnight to make sure trains left on time yesterday missed their shifts after taking part in Tuesday’s strike.

Secondary legislation to scrap the ban on agency workers will be introduced today and is expected to take effect next month. Government sources acknowledge that some skilled roles, such as railway signallers, will be impossible to replace.

But they believe other vital roles, such as train dispatchers, could be carried out by agency staff. 

Like Tuesday’s walkout, under a fifth of trains will run today and only for 11 hours. Up to 50% of services will run on key inter-city routes.

Meanwhile, members of the drivers’ union Aslef on Greater Anglia will strike on Thursday in a separate dispute over pay.

The company, which is also affected by the RMT strike, advised passengers to travel only if it was necessary.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) announced that its members at Merseyrail had accepted a 7.1% pay offer.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘What this clearly shows is our union, and sister unions, are in no way a block on finding the solutions needed to avoid a summer of discontent on the railways.

‘Rather, it is the Government who are intent on digging in their heels. Grant Shapps would be wise to start talking seriously to our union as we ballot for industrial action on our railways up and down the land.’

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson: ‘With passenger numbers still at only 80% of pre-pandemic levels the industry remains committed to giving a fair deal on pay while taking no more than its fair share from taxpayers.

‘We can only achieve that by making improvements – like offering better services on a Sunday – that reflect the changing needs of passengers so we can attract more back.

‘We call on the RMT leadership to continue to talk so that we can secure a thriving long-term future for the railway and its workforce.

‘Our advice to passengers remains the same, only travel by rail if absolutely necessary, check before you travel and make sure you know the time of your first and last trains.’

A Network Rail spokesperson said: ‘We are disappointed that the RMT have again chosen to walk away from negotiations without agreeing a deal. We remain available for talks – day or night – and will do everything we can to avoid further disruption for our passengers.

‘As a result of this needless and premature strike, rail services will look much like they did on Tuesday – starting later in the morning and finishing much earlier in the evening (around 6.30pm).

‘We are asking passengers to please check before you travel, be conscious of when your last available train is departing, and only travel by train if necessary.’

‘Victory to the rail strikes’: Labour heading for fresh meltdown as MPs defy Sir Keir Starmer AGAIN to join picket lines – as party leader opens door to new row with unions by signalling he could back below-inflation public sector pay rises

Sir Keir Starmer was heading for another Labour meltdown today on the second day of national rail strikes.

In an act of defiance against the Labour leader, a number of the party’s MPs again joined picket lines in support of the rail workers’ walkout.

One even declared: ‘Victory to the rail strikes.’

As a bitter internal party row blew up again, senior figures from Labour’s left issued fresh condemnation of Sir Keir’s order for the party’s front bench not to join picket lines.

On Tuesday’s first day of strikes, a number defied the Labour leader’s plea and are now awaiting punishment by chief whip Sir Alan Campbell. 

But Sir Keir is facing pushback from members of his shadow cabinet over the threats of disciplinary action and is being urged to drop the issue. 

Sir Keir has also opened the door to another Labour row after he signalled he could support below-inflation pay rises for other parts of the public sector.

Teachers, nurses, doctors, civil servants and postal workers are all also considering strike action.

It is feared the train strikes could turn into a wider ‘summer of discontent’, as other unions also clash with bosses over pay settlements during the cost-of-living crisis. 

Sir Keir failed to outright back union demands for inflation-linked pay rises for public sector workers and instead pointed to the work of pay review bodies in deciding on wage hikes.

Emma Hardy, who used to be a parliamentary aide to Sir Keir Starmer and was a shadow minister as recently as March last year, was pictured joining a picket line in Hull

Emma Hardy, who used to be a parliamentary aide to Sir Keir Starmer and was a shadow minister as recently as March last year, was pictured joining a picket line in Hull

Birkenhead MP Mick Whitley joined rail workers outside Liverpool Lime Street Station and declared: 'Victory to the rail strikes'

Birkenhead MP Mick Whitley joined rail workers outside Liverpool Lime Street Station and declared: ‘Victory to the rail strikes’

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, who was Labour Party chair under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, joined RMT members outside Berwick upon Tweed station

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, who was Labour Party chair under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, joined RMT members outside Berwick upon Tweed station

Today, a number of Labour MPs again joined striking rail workers on picket lines across the country.

Emma Hardy, who used to be a parliamentary aide to Sir Keir and was a shadow minister as recently as March last year, was pictured joining a picket in Hull.

Fellow former shadow minister Karl Turner also joined striking workers in the Yorkshire city.

Birkenhead MP Mick Whitley joined rail workers outside Liverpool Lime Street Station.

He posted on Twitter: ‘I’m back on the picket lines to support our friends in the RMT union. Throughout this dispute, ministers have obstructed negotiations and refused to get around the table.

‘They want to sow division amongst working people, but we won’t let them. Victory to the rail strikes.’

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, who was Labour Party chair under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, joined RMT members outside Berwick upon Tweed station.

Meanwhile, former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott lashed out at frontbencher Emily Thornberry, who last night insisted a Labour government would not be ‘picking a side’ in the rail dispute.

Ms Abbott told the shadow attorney general: ‘I thought when you joined the Labour Party you had picked a side…working people.’

At least four Labour frontbenchers defied Sir Keir’s orders on Tuesday’s first day of rail strikes and joined picket lines.

Sir Keir has also opened the door to another Labour row after he signalled he could support below-inflation pay rises for other parts of the public sector

Sir Keir has also opened the door to another Labour row after he signalled he could support below-inflation pay rises for other parts of the public sector

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott lashed out at frontbencher Emily Thornberry on Twitter over Sir Keir's position on strikes

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott lashed out at frontbencher Emily Thornberry on Twitter over Sir Keir’s position on strikes

There was no sign this morning that senior MPs – such as serving shadow ministers and parliamentary aides – had once again rebelled against their Labour leader’s wishes.

But the row over Sir Keir’s threat to discipline those who did join Tuesday’s picket lines continued to fester.

One shadow minister told the Guardian it would be ‘outrageous’ to caution, or even sack, Labour MPs for showing support for striking rail workers.

The newspaper also reported that Labour whips were trying to encourage those frontbenchers who rebelled to issue public apologies, with the risk of disciplinary action if they did not.

Sir Keir’s spokesman has denied that the Labour leader’s position on strikes had been undermined by MPs joining picket lines. 

‘The position has been followed by the vast majority of the frontbench and he’s set out his views clearly on that,’ the spokesman said.

Ahead of Tuesday’s first day of strikes, a letter was sent to shadow cabinet ministers warning them not to join picket lines, with the message then being passed to other members of Labour’s front bench. 

Decisions by Labour’s chief whip about disciplinary action are set to be taken in the ‘next few days’. 

Sir Keir has also set a course for another Labour row and a battle with the unions by failing to endorse union calls for inflation-linked pay rises during the cost-of-living crisis.

The Government has repeatedly urged wage restraint in the public sector over fears of a wage/price spiral that could further fuel rocketing inflation rates.

The Bank of England has forecast the inflation rate could reach as high as 11 per cent  this autumn.

Raising the threat of further strike action across the public sector, many union leaders are calling for inflation-linked pay rises for their members.

But Sir Keir shied away from backing public sector workers from getting rises in line with inflation as a general matter of principle. 

He spokesman said: ‘We are well aware that people are suffering as a result of the cost of living crisis that is the result of this Government’s failure to act. 

‘We believe that the Government should ensure that workers are treated decently and fairly.

‘But we respect the work of the public sector pay review bodies and it’s their job to come forward with recommendations.

‘We’re not going to second-guess or pick numbers.’

Asked whether that meant Starmer would support whatever level of pay was recommended by the review bodies, even if it was below inflation, the spokesman added: ‘Our starting point would be to look at what the pay review bodies come forward with and our assumption would be that that would be what we would support.’

Share this @internewscast.com
You May Also Like

Glam Yoga Teacher Says ‘NOT GUILTY’ of Love Murder, Secret Life Revealed – Crime Online

Kaitlin Armstrong’s trial for the murder of Moriah “Mo” Wilson is set…

Expert Dog Handler Testifies at Paul Flores Murder Trial

Kristin Smart California Polytechnic State University freshman Kristin Smart was 19 years old…

Missouri Mom Accused of Murdering Husband Disappears Before Trial – Crime Online

A woman accused of fatally shooting her husband in Missouri has gone…

CAT getting millions from federal grant for more electric buses

SAVANNAH, Ga. () — Out with the old, and in with the…

Abortion battle sparks influx of interest — and money — in state Supreme Court races

Washington — The stakes surrounding state Supreme Court races around the country…

This Could Be The Motive Behind Jody Herring’s Brutal Killing Spree

According to court documents, Jody Herring experienced trauma throughout her life, including…

Ethiopia calls WHO chief’s comments on Tigray “unethical”

NAIROBI – Ethiopia’s government is criticizing as “unethical” the statement by the…

Here’s who can have multiple passports in the U.S.

Government officials and some U.S. citizens with regular passports can have more…