Rail workers across Europe are calling for higher wages amid rising inflation

Rail workers across Europe are calling for higher wages amid rising inflation
@Vasilis Koudas on Pexels

The last weekend before Christmas was marked by protests by railway workers in several European countries.

Rail passengers in the UK faced another day of traffic disruption on Saturday as thousands of workers from The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) continued their 48-hour strike. Around 20% of normal services operated during Saturday and in some areas trains did not run at all. This is the sector's second two-day strike so far this week and it looks like it will not be the last of this year. International rail operator Eurostar on Friday said that it would not operate services on Dec. 26 between Britain and France due to a national rail strike that impacts the British rail network on Boxing Day. 

Rail workers are also protesting in other European countries. As we reported, at the end of November, a large-scale strike by rail workers paralyzed transport in Austria, with rail workers demanding a pay rise by at least €400 per month. Last Friday, more than 15,000 demonstrators in Brussels called for more measures to protect them from high energy prices and better pay against rapidly rising inflation. The protests, backed by the three main trade unions, disrupted public services across Belgium, particularly rail and metro services in and around the capital.

The situation is also tense in France. Several TGV trains were canceled over the weekend due to a strike by rail signalers called by SUD-Rail and the social movement of drivers in New Aquitaine. SNCF, France’s national rail service, offered workers a monthly bonus of €60 (gross) starting in June, which was significantly lower than the €300 requested by SUD-Rail union representatives. “The assignments announced by SNCF Réseau management do not correspond to the demands made by SUD-Rail in recent months and do not respect the commitments made last May,” commented a statement of SUD-Rail.

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