Europe engulfed by widespread transport strikes as cost of living escalates
Europe has been engulfed by widespread transport strikes as workers squeezed by the soaring cost of living seek raises.
On Thursday, commuters in London and Paris either tried to reach their destinations through alternative ways or just simply stayed home as public transport workers took part in strikes for higher pay, the latest industrial protest seeking relief from spiraling prices in the continent.
Both the United Kingdom and France are already spending billions, trying to blunt the worst effects of soaring prices, at least for the most vulnerable, but the adopted measures have so far largely failed to stop labor unrest from spreading.
"I am very deeply affected by the strike," said a 36-year-old man in London. "I took my car, the train and now I have to cycle."
In the UK, the strike was staged by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) and Unite unions. It followed several prior walkouts this year amid a long-running dispute over job cuts, pensions and working conditions.
The RMT said a condition offer to stop the walkout on Tuesday with Transport for London (TfL) bosses failed.
"TfL have missed a golden opportunity to make progress in these negotiations and avoid strike action," RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said.
Authorities in the British capital said the underground system was "severely disrupted," with reduced or no services running, advising Londoners to avoid using the network.
On top of Thursday's walkout in London's underground, British nurses are said to be going to hold the first strike in the 106-year history of their Royal College of Nursing union at a date yet to be announced.
In France, the walkout seeks to dial up pressure on President Emmanuel Macron before he brings a contentious pensions-overhaul bill to parliament. The bill, if approved, would require millions of people to work longer before retiring.