Winter of discontent? Rail strikes hit UK as unions ramp up industrial action

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By Euronews
Many passengers face disruption, due to bad weather and limited services
Many passengers face disruption, due to bad weather and limited services   -  Copyright  Kin Cheung/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

More mass industrial action is underway today in Britain, with the first of four days of rail strikes over pay and conditions.

According to the main union involved, the RMT, 40,000 of its members working across the country will down tools this week, with four more days of action planned in January.

Other parts of the transport sector, such as border force police officers who check passports and airline baggage handlers are also planning industrial action during the Christmas period.

Coupled with snow disruption in recent days, it has made for a week of misery for passengers.

Meanwhile, in the health sector, nurses will also walk out over demands for a 19% pay rise, which the government says is unaffordable. The military will be brought in to reduce the blow of other strike action among ambulance drivers.

It's all part of a massive wave of walkouts in the UK, with the number of working days lost to industrial action reaching the highest in more than a decade.

Fueling the strikes is rampant inflation, which last month hit a new high of over 11% in the UK. With the UK forecast to enter a long recession soon, the economic mood is gloomy, in the run-up to Christmas.