Fresh 48-hour rail strikes spark chaos on roads as Christmas getaway begins | The Sun

THOUSANDS of Brits have been stranded on clogged up motorways and forced to work from home as train and bus workers began another round of crippling strikes today.

Members of the RMT Union staged a 48-hour walk out for the second time this week, ramping up a major dispute over pay and conditions.

Workers were offered a five per cent pay rise for this year — backdated to January — with another four per cent at the start of 2023 and a guarantee of no compulsory job losses until January 2025.

But they rejected the offer from employer Network Rail, unlike members of the Unite and TSSA unions.

Bus drivers employed by Abellio in South and West London have also kicked off 48-hours of industrial action today in a row over pay.

Their union Unite claim Abellio hasn't engaged in "meaningful" talks about salary hikes.

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Brits face days of chaos and disruption this festive season as workers across a range of sectors take part industrial action.

Yesterday, nurses went on strike for the first time in their union’s history.

Ministers claim a whopping 70,000 medical appointments were cancelled as a result.

And this morning Chief Executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery told BBC Radio 4 the strike caused 40 – 60 per cent of routine operations in affected hospitals to be canned.


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She said: "I think we do know that there were some real pressure points around emergency departments, for example, including things like the slow transfer of patients out of those departments.

"It's fair to say that there's been a relatively significant impact and I think it was a very demanding day overall, on the front line in the NHS."

Meanwhile, next Wednesday more than 10,000 ambulance workers are expected to withdraw their labour.

The army will step in to ensure patients can still be rushed to hospital in an emergency.

But some people suffering less serious injuries might have to be transported to NHS trusts in TAXIS block-booked by the government as staff shortages take hold.

GMB union members rejected a 4 per cent hike in pay as a “real terms cut” in light of soaring inflation.

Only the South East Coast Ambulance Service has agreed a limited deal to answer all top priority 1 calls — even if staff have to come off picket lines.

But less serious incidents will face delays and countless other regions are still refusing to say what they will do.

Elderly people who fall may not get an ambulance until they have been stuck on the floor for four hours or more.

Ambulance bosses are continuing to negotiate 999 cover with local union reps.

Yesterday, a fresh bout of Tory civil war emerged over whether to increase the pay offer for nurses.

Former party chairman Jake Berry told TalkTV that the current government offer is “too low”.

And Steve Brine, chairman of Parliament’s heath committee, added: “I think sending it back to the pay review body would be a sensible answer.”

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But Health Minister Maria Caulfield pointed to the disastrous Liz Truss mini-budget as to why borrowing cannot be used to fund bigger pay rises.

She said for every one per cent pay rise, it will cost “around £700million” that the Government would have to find.

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