What the papers say – June 22

The war of words between unions, Labour and the Government over industrial action rages across Britain’s front pages.

What the papers say (PA)
What the papers say (PA)

Wednesday’s front pages splash on deserted train stations as rail staff begin the first day of their scheduled strikes.

The Financial Times reports the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) rejected a 3% pay rise and 1,800 job cuts. The Prime Minister is quoted as saying the rail sector must modernise or “go bust”.

The Daily Mirror says Network Rail chief Andrew Haines earns 20 times the wage of a train guard and 13 times more than the average train worker. The paper adds that a ComRes poll found 58% of Brits support the strike action, which is the biggest for 30 years.

The Sun and Daily Express call the strikes a “class war”, with the former paper saying Britain faces a looming “summer of discontent” as teachers have threatened industrial action if their wages are not increased.

The Daily Mail adopts a similar tone in its coverage, focusing on the Labour MPs who defied their party by joining picket lines on Tuesday.

Unions have accused Boris Johnson of pursing a “race to the bottom” by heading off public sector pay hikes as teachers and postal workers threaten action, The Independent adds.

Metro and The Daily Telegraph note that the same day the Government told workers to accept a real-terms pay cut and “restraint”, it promised pensioners a double-digit increase to keep pace with soaring inflation.

Meanwhile, the i has been advised by anonymous Whitehall sources that the Government is attempting to change a law which would curtail the right to strike.

The Daily Star weighs into the fray with claims MPs were told to avoid travel chaos by taking a taxi or Uber to work and charging it to taxpayers.

Elsewhere, The Guardian leads with a report that Downing Street will set out sweeping plans to override the power of Europe’s human rights court after a judge blocked the UK from deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. The Tory bill has been accused of “fatally weakening human rights” by campaigners and lawyers.

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