Supplies for the festive season are already under way and the walkouts are set to cause logistical problems, with more than 600 freight trains running in the UK every day
Image: Liverpool Echo)
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, 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.
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It came as 40,000 rail staff walked out for three days as they demand pay rises and better conditions.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union is now thought to be targeting fresh industrial action at the end of next month.
General Secretary Mick Lynch has been given a mandate from members to continue strikes for up to six months. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said there was “no point” giving workers inflation-busting pay hikes 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%.
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Speaking at the G7 summit yesterday, he dashed hopes employees might be spared a real-terms salary cut and suggested 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.