Britain grinding to a halt

In the UK, around 40,000 railway workers have gone on strike this Tuesday for higher wages and against job cuts. This is the country's biggest walkout in 30 years and is expected to paralyse large sections of the national rail network. With the prospect of other public sector employees joining the strike, fears of a "summer of discontent" are growing.

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The Guardian (GB) /

No other option

The Guardian sympathises with the strikers:

“When the entire public sector is about to experience a significant real terms pay cut after years of freezes and pay stagnation, what are trade unions supposed to do? Over the past 12 years, they have failed to ensure their members' pay has kept up with inflation. They can hardly be expected to lie down under this monster assault on living standards. ... The government hopes that strikes will distract from or even be a scapegoat for everything that doesn't work. ... Johnson's turbulent regime is to blame for the coming wave of strikes.”

The Times (GB) /

Higher wages would fuel inflation

The government must stand firm, The Times counters:

“Higher pay rises risk fuelling an inflationary wage-price spiral. They would also blow a hole in the public finances. ... History shows that once an inflationary spiral is under way, it is extremely hard to reverse. Two factors make Britain's inflation problem particularly challenging. The first is a shortage of workers to fill a record 1.3 million job vacancies which is giving unions increased bargaining power. The second is the weakness of sterling, which is driving up the price of imports and which reflects in part market concerns that Mr Johnson lacks a coherent economic plan.”