Rail and postal strikes called off as union bosses pay tribute to Queen

Schools set to remain open, sporting and cultural bodies to decide whether events cancelled

Adam Forrest
Friday 09 September 2022 10:22 BST
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Leaders around the world pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Planned strikes by Britain’s rail and postal workers have been called off as a result of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, as union bosses paid tribute to the longest-reigning sovereign.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union had been due to walk out on 15 and 17 September in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

“RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth,” said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch. “We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) also called off its participation planned rail strikes. “TSSA union expresses deepest condolences to her family, friends, the country and those affected by her passing. The union pays respect to Britain’s longest-serving monarch.”

Royal Mail workers were due to continue a 48-hour walkout on Friday in a dispute over pay and conditions – and had been due to launch another strike on 30 September.

But the head of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said the planned industrial action was now suspended.

General secretary Dave Ward said: “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off tomorrow’s planned strike action.”

The UK has faced a wave of industrial action as workers demand higher pay to counter spiralling inflation during the cost of living crisis – with warnings teachers, nurses and junior doctors could all strike.

Unison and Unite had been expected to table motions ahead of the TUC Congress next week that would enable them to synchronise strike dates to ensure the greatest impact on services.

Calls for a “general strike” across the nation had been supported by union leaders from the CWU, RMT and the National Union of Rail.

But the death of the Queen at the age of 96 will now be marked with 10 days of national mourning. Her coffin is expected to lie in state for three days at Westminster Hall before her state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Schools are expected to remain open and it will be a matter for sporting and cultural bodies whether to go ahead with scheduled events during the mourning period, No 10 said.

As well as the cancelling of strikes and many other other events, the monarch’s death also means parliament will go into recess for more than a week.

But government officials will be expected to continue to work on Liz Truss’s plans to bring in a £2,500 cap on annual household energy bills ahead of a looming rise on 1 October.

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