Supplies for the festive season are already underway and the walkouts are expected to cause logistical problems, with more than 600 freight trains running in the UK every day
Image: Echo of Liverpool)
Christmas gifts could be affected by the series of rail strikes, it was claimed last night.
Holiday supplies are already underway and the walkouts are expected to cause logistical problems.
More than 600 freight trains run across the UK every day, carrying billions of pounds worth of goods such as televisions, clothing and Christmas decorations.
A senior industry official said: “As the year progresses, freight gets busier, especially containers, so that’s the big concern.
“China’s surge will happen – and these ships are sailing now.
“It always gets busier in August, especially when we start to see Christmas stuff coming up.”
Last week, ministers decided to prioritize rail freight over passenger services. They claimed they were trying to make sure supermarkets didn’t run out of food.
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It came as 40,000 railway workers went on strike for three days as they demanded pay rises and better conditions.
The rail, maritime and transport union is now believed to be aiming for further industrial action at the end of next month.
General Secretary Mick Lynch received a mandate from members to continue the strikes for up to six months. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has said giving workers anti-inflationary pay rises to ease the cost of living crisis is ‘unnecessary’.
The prime minister has rejected calls for public sector staff to get raises of more than 3%, even though prices are rising 9.1% a year and are expected to reach 11%.
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Speaking at the G7 summit yesterday, he dashed hopes employees could be spared a pay cut in real terms and suggested hikes could trigger a wage and price spiral.
He told ITV that No10 was “taking the sensible and responsible decisions to have the strongest possible economic recovery” after the pandemic.