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Rail strike cripples Britain; a shaky Johnson says 'no' to pay hike

Around 50,000 British rail workers, including 10,000 of London Underground, will be on strike again on Saturday. As employees of other sectors also are threatening to go on strike, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the strike is “wrong and unnecessary” and any wage rise in the midst of high inflation will be counter-productive. Johnson, facing a plethora of charges, had just survived a no-trust motion within his party.

LONDON, June 24: As the third day of the three-day staggered rail strike on Saturday is set to disrupt Britain's railway system again, Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), one of the largest unions in the country, has warned that more strikes are under way.

As Britain will be without any rail services on Saturday, millions of commuters will encounter chaos on the roads as it happened the previous two days of the strike on Tuesday and Thursday when some of them preferred to work from home. The rail shutdown led to congestion on other modes of transport.

The Glastonbury Festival and the British Athletics Championships are likely to be affected by Saturday's walkout.

The railway workers are on a three-day strike against wage freeze, job cuts and poor working conditions, the biggest in 30 years, spread over June 21, 23 and 25 with a cascading impact throughout the week. The unions demanded a pay rise of 7% but the State-owned Network Rail offered only 3%. A modernisation plan allegedly will cost 2,500 maintenance jobs. The unions allege thousands of jobs are being cut and the workers are getting poor wages in the midst of skyrocketing inflation (9.1%) and rising cost of living.

Around 50,000 workers, including 10,000 London Underground staff, had walked out. Employees of other sectors also are threatening to go on strike.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the strike is “wrong and unnecessary”. The Government says at this critical juncture of labour shortages and supply disruption and inflation any wage rise will be counter-productive.

The services of the following operators have been disrupted: Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, East Midlands Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Great Western Railway, TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains.

However, 20% of total rail services across Britain were running. ScotRail cancelled its services on Tuesday and Thursday, and they will not be available on Saturday either.

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