Newspaper headlines: Britain 'runs into buffers' as PM 'inflames' rail dispute

By BBC News

  • Published
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Passengers at London King's Cross stationImage source, PA Media

The rail strike features heavily on most of the front pages.

"Britain runs into the buffers" is the headline in The Times, which says the industrial action will "paralyse" the rail network.

The Metro says millions of people are facing "hellish" journeys to reach firms which are still battling back after the Covid pandemic - and are now facing "crippling losses".

The Daily Mail accuses "union barons" of forcing towns and cities into a "lockdown" that business leaders have warned will cost the hospitality sector £1bn this week.

The Sun makes its feelings clear about the RMT union general secretary. It describes Mick Lynch's threat to continue industrial action for months as "Mad Mick's misery pledge".

The Star's interpretation is that there could be strikes until Christmas if a deal isn't agreed.

The Daily Telegraph describes the prime minister's accusation that the trade unions are "harming the very people they claim to be helping" as his strongest comments on the walkout so far.

Boris Johnson's call for a "sensible compromise" to halt the walkout also makes the front of the Express.

But the Guardian says Downing Street has "inflamed" the dispute by bringing forward plans to enable employers to replace striking workers with agency staff - a move the unions have decried as "unworkable".

The Financial Times reports that a broader confrontation between the government and public sector workers is looming. It says ministers are preparing to announce below-inflation pay deals for millions of teachers, doctors, nurses, and local government workers.

A source has told the Telegraph that the holiday plans of an estimated 1.5 million people will be affected by EasyJet's plan to cancel flights over the summer because of an industry-wide staffing crisis. The Express quotes the boss of the airline, who said he "simply didn't know" exactly how many services would be axed.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps bears the brunt of the Mirror's frustrations. "Flights cancelled, railways grind to a halt, petrol prices rise again" the paper complains "and still Transport Secretary Shapps refuses to do anything". Mr Shapps has repeatedly rejected calls to intervene in the negotiations between rail employers and the RMT union, insisting it is not the government's place to do so.

The i reports that Downing Street has asked ministers to ease the restrictions on City bosses' pay. The paper says it's seen a confidential letter from the cabinet office minister, Steve Barclay, to the chancellor, calling for "deregulatory measures" to attract more foreign companies to the UK after Brexit. The Department for Business has told the i it is "exploring whether there are any unnecessary restrictions on paying non-executive directors in shares, which could ensure they are fully invested in the success of the company they run". The Treasury and the Cabinet Office wouldn't comment.

The prospect of tourists being fined £645 for "spending a penny" while swimming off the coast of Spain makes the front of The Times. It says the authorities in the city of Vigo in the north-western region of Galicia have passed legislation banning people from urinating in the sea. But, the paper explains, the exact details of how the new rule will be policed have not been made available.