LBC Views: Britain really needs this summer. Lets hope these strikes don't happen

10 June 2022, 11:58 | Updated: 10 June 2022, 12:00

LBC Views: Don't let strikes ruin our summer, says Steve Rigley
LBC Views: Don't let strikes ruin our summer, says Steve Rigley. Picture: LBC

By Stephen Rigley

After two years living under a Covid cloud Britain needs its summer back.

As the sun fights to escape the confines of the grey skies that seem to have been hovering across the country over the last few days, it has become clear how desperate people are to begin enjoying themselves once again.

Thousands descended on the capital for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and millions more came together with friends and neighbours for street parties to celebrate Her Majesty's 70 years on the throne.

For a brief moment we could all put to one side the cost of living crisis, Partygate and the horrible spectre of Covid.

And let's look at what waits for us this summer. The Rolling Stones, Elton John and Adele play Hyde Park, a rejuvenated England team take on New Zealand and for many of us it will be the first holiday in years.

Already we have had the scene-setter to this summer of discontent when London Underground staff staged their latest walk out over pay, job losses and working conditions.

This came on top of the hell at the airports during half-term and the fuel costs rises which have seen prices at the pump reach an eye-watering £2 a litre.

As the curtain came down on the four-day bank holiday celebrations, tens of thousands of Londoners faced a Monday morning battle to get into work.

As they squeezed onto busses or crawled down over-crowded roads and pavements,

Tube stations remained locked and I certainly never saw a union official outside a station trying to explain to frustrated commuters the reasons for the disruption.

Yesterday, in a separate dispute the RMT said it will shut down the country's railway network on 21, 23 and 25 June after talks over pay and redundancies fell through.

The RMT said it will be the biggest rail strike since 1989 and there will be many more walkouts if the dispute over pay and jobs isn't resolved.

The union wants a guarantee that no compulsory redundancies will be made as ministers ask the industry to make £2billion in savings after being bailed out during the pandemic and passenger numbers stabilising at around 75 per cent post-pandemic.

It also wants pay rises for members in line with the RPI rate of inflation - currently 11.1 per cent. The RMT said rail staff who worked through the pandemic were facing pay freezes and hundreds of job cuts.

The June 21 strike will see 40,000 workers from Network Rail, which is in charge of infrastructure, and 13 train companies covering most of the country walkout for 24 hours.In addition 10,000 London Underground workers will strike, also bringing most of the capital's transport network to a grinding halt.

The 40,000 mainline workers will then strike again on June 23 and 25.

These strikes come alongside the massive problems at Britain's airports, many of which are in disarray because of staff shortages.

And in more bad news, the walkout by 50,000 union members means rail freight could also be hit, resulting in empty shelves and a petrol shortage.

Britain really needs a summer. Lets hope all the sides can come together and resolve these issues before it is too late.