Strike cripples U.K. rail services

Posted on January 3, 2002

South West Train services across Southern England and into Waterloo station are at a virtual standstill because of a strike by thousands of workers over pay. Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RTM) walked off the job today in the first of several scheduled strike days, disrupting rail services and leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded, reported the News Telegraph. The RTM rejected a 7.6% pay increase over two years and is holding out for the deal to cover only 18 months, the Telegraph said. The union also rejected South West Train's offer of a pay increase equivalent to 15% over three years, not linked to productivity. "This was an excellent offer which we made in an attempt to save our passengers from further disruption," Managing Director David Haines said in a statement. Another 48-hour strike is planned for Monday and Tuesday, threatening further disruption as children return to school after the Christmas break, reported the Telegraph.

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