The prospect of midsummer misery as Britain grinds to a halt amid a paralysing series of rail strikes is the main story for most of the papers on Tuesday.
“Britain runs into the buffers”, says the splash headline in the Timeswhich reports that although the strikes are planned for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, they are likely to cause disruptions for the whole week thanks to timetable disruptions.
The Guardian’s lead story is headlined “PM inflames rail dispute with strike-breaker threat” with a report that Boris Johnson is preparing to line up temporary agency workers to use as strike breakers.
Along with the other titles, the paper also reports on Johnson’s comments that public sector workers should exercise restraint in their pay demands in order to keep inflation down, contradicting what he said earlier in the year about wanting a “high wage economy”.
The Telegraph treats this angle a bit differently in its lead story, which has the headline “PM: Unions harming those they are meant to help”.
It’s a similar angle for the Express, which also highlights the prime minister’s comments about pay after the RMT rail union rejected a 3% pay offer. “Boris: time for ‘sensible’ pay deals to ease cost cisis”, says the main head.
The Financial Times reports on concerns in the business community that the strikes could derail the economy. “Business fears rail strike’s cost as prospect grows of more walkouts”, it says.
The Mail likens the shutdown to pandemic lockdowns, saying the hospitality sector is worried that it could cost firms £1bn in lost revenue. “Strikes are a £1 billion lockdown for Britain”, its splash headline reads.
The Mirror broadens things out from just the railways to paint a picture of a country with problems right across all modes of transport. The words “Planes Trains Automobiles” are lined up on the front page with the word “crisis” tagged on to each one as it reports on the cancellation of flights, the rail shutdown and another rise in petrol prices. It says the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, “hasn’t lifted a finger” to try to resolve the rail dispute.
The strike means the Metro freesheet is unlikely to reach many commuters this week and it reports “It’s all going a bit loco”, while the London freebie City AM says “Cancelled”.
The i says it has learned that the government, in contrast to its calls for public sector pay restraint, has asked ministers to lift restrictions on “top City pay” in order to show overseas high-fliers the “benefits of Brexit”.