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The British rail workers’ strike resumed on Thursday after unsuccessful negotiations over pay rises in line with inflation, which hit record highs in the UK and is set to exceed 11% by the end of the year.

After a first massive strike on Tuesday, this is the second strike day of the week, which should be followed by a third on Saturday if employers and unions do not reach an agreement.

Only one train in five will circulate and the lines will close at 6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. GMT).

Faced with this historic mobilization, Boris Johnson’s government announced on Thursday its intention to change the law to allow temporary workers to replace strikers and reduce what it considers the “disproportionate” impact of the stoppages.

If approved by Parliament, these changes should take effect in the coming weeks and apply to England, Scotland and Wales.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps said the reform was “vital” and would “ensure that any future strikes cause less disruption and allow adaptable, flexible and skilled staff to continue working.”

The executive also announced that it is going to increase the maximum damages that the courts can demand from a union in the case of strikes declared illegal. For the largest unions, the maximum compensation will rise from 250,000 pounds to 1 million ($1.22 million).

The RMT transport union, which called this three-day strike, calls for wage increases in line with inflation, but also denounces the prospect of “thousands of layoffs” and worsening working conditions.

A Network Rail spokesman was “disappointed” by the failure of negotiations and called the strike “unnecessary and premature”. The operator of the state rail network asked passengers to take the train only if necessary.

The TSSA union announced on Wednesday that workers at Merseyrail, one of several private rail operators in the UK, had accepted a 7.1% wage increase offer, putting further pressure on negotiations between RMT and management.

“Wage increases are possible and fully justified,” the union tweeted Thursday.


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