Strikes ‘could affect supplies at Christmas’
Freight fear on rail staff action
CHRISTMAS presents could be affected by the series of rail strikes, it was claimed last night.
Supplies for the festive season are already under way and the walkouts are set to cause logistical problems.
More than 600 freight trains run in the UK every day, carrying billions of pounds of goods such as TVs, clothes and Christmas decorations.
One senior industry figure said: “As the year goes on, the freight gets busier, particularly containers, so that’s the big worry.
“The China surge will come in – and those ships are sailing now.
“It always gets busier into August, particularly when we start seeing Christmas stuff come through.”
Last week, ministers decided to prioritise rail freight over passenger services. They claimed they were trying to ensure supermarkets did not run out of food.
It came as 40,000 rail staff walked out for three days as they demand pay rises and better conditions.
The RMT union is now thought to be planning fresh industrial action at the end of next month.
Mick Lynch has been given a mandate from members to continue strikes for up to six months. Meanwhile, PM Boris Johnson has insisted there is “no point” granting workers inflation-busting pay increases to ease the cost of living crisis.
The PM dismissed calls for public sector staff to get rises above 3%, even though prices are rising at 9.1% annually and tipped to hit 11%.
Speaking at the G7 summit yesterday, he dashed any hopes that employees might be spared a real-terms salary cut and suggested wage hikes could trigger a wage-price spiral.
He told ITV that No10 was “taking the sensible and responsible decisions to have the strongest possible economic recovery” from the pandemic.
The China surge will come and ships are sailing now
FREIGHT INSIDER ON LOGISTICS CONCERNS