UK soldiers ready to end railway strike

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Special Correspondent : Manju Shukla
Date  22/12/2016

About 4,000 British soldiers are prepared to end a long-running walkout by railway workers, which has affected hundreds of thousands of commuters, according to a report.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Southern Railway, one of the UK’s biggest train operators, went on a two-day strike on Monday, as part of a months-long industrial action over a pay dispute.

The strike by the railway workers, coupled with a continuing ban on overtime by drivers, has affected Southern Railway`s 300,000 passengers.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association and RMT on London Underground have announced the overtime ban in a dispute over jobs and closure of ticket offices.

Tory lawmakers, whose constituencies have been worst hit by the strikes, have asked Defense Secretary Micheal Fallon and other ministers to deploy soldiers to help drive travelers to work using buses, British media reported Tuesday.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling met with some 25 Tory MPs on Monday to discuss ways to end the dispute.

Travelers who drive to the stations are currently forced to cash out £13 a day to park their cars even if the trains are delayed because of the walkout.

Although free parking spaces need consent from the train operators, authorities are looking for ways to force the policy upon them.

The news comes amid nationwide multi-industry walkouts that threaten to further plunge public transportation into chaos on the verge of the New Year.

Aside from the railway workers, in the aviation industry, nearly 2,000 cabin crews working for British Airways have announced a walkout for Christmas and the Boxing Day (December 26).

Meanwhile, pilots at Virgin Atlantic will start a “work to contract” action from Friday in a row over union recognition.

The Professional Pilots’ Union (PPU), which represents 70 percent of Virgin’s 900 pilots, has urged the authorities to recognize it as the only union the airline deals with. The PPU also wants the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) to be de-recognized.

Fears of chaos eased on Monday, after baggage handlers and other ground staff called off their Christmas strike in 18 airports

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