U.K. Train Strikes Bring More Summer Disruptions

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“I think there’s a political dimension to it now, which is unfortunate because this is an industrial relations matter about jobs, conditions and pay,” Mick Lynch, the union’s general secretary, said to the BBC on Thursday.

Network Rail said it was disappointed that unions had rejected an offer it called “good and fair,” pointing out that revenue from passengers traveling remained lower than prepandemic levels. On Thursday, its chief executive, Andrew Haines, told reporters that he wanted workers to vote in a referendum on a new pay offer, blaming the R.M.T. for the holdup.

According to an estimate from the Office for National Statistics in May, railway workers including drivers, earned a median salary of 43,747 pounds or about $52,600 in 2021, though that median fell to 36,800 pounds, or about $44,250 without including driver salaries.

But with workers in other fields, including airlines, schoolteachers and postal workers, also considering strikes this summer, the labor unrest could persist for some time.

“People are getting poorer every day of the week,” Mr. Lynch said to reporters in London on Thursday, adding that future walkouts could continue indefinitely in the transportation industry and elsewhere until pay disputes were settled.

“What they’re trying to fight for is what they believe in,” said Ben Scopes, who had chosen to brave the trains to return to Ipswich, northeast of London, after a family vacation. “It is what it is.”

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