The Brief: The disruption to the North of England’s rail services due to strikes and cancellations is already affecting businesses and causing “havoc”, according to members of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. The government responded with the assurance that it is already working with train operators and investing in transport facilities in the north. According to the BBC, the chaos stems from disagreement between operators and drivers on overtime working arrangements.
Why It Matters: The Railway Industry Association estimates that the country’s rail system contributes £36 billion annually to the UK economy and generates £2.20 of income for every £1 spent on the rail network. Rail employee walkouts began in the middle of the year with more planned strikes in December and January. The unions dispute low pay, job cuts and unfair terms and conditions in their employment.
Finanze Foresights: The lines that are on hold during strikes tend to be the busiest on ordinary days, which not only proves to be inconvenient for passengers but for businesses as well. The previous strikes coincided with major sports tournaments this year, and the next series of protests this December will once again force many commuters to stay at home instead of travelling to spend their money in retail and entertainment centres around the country. The economic damage costs millions and may negatively impact Sunak’s standing if no agreement takes place by the start of the new year.
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