British rail workers union calls for national strike

London–British rail workers’ unions on Thursday called for national strikes from 6-9 April, just after the Easter holidays, in bad news for the Labour government weeks before an election which it looks likely to lose.

The walkouts by maintenance and signal workers over planned job cuts and changes to working practices at Network Rail, operator of the rail infrastructure, would be the first national rail strike in 16 years.

It comes in the middle of a separate labor dispute at British Airways, where cabin crew staged a three-day strike from 20 March and are planning a further four-day stoppage.

The disputes have created a rash of negative headlines and talk of a "spring of discontent" ahead of a national election expected on 6 May. The Labour Party, which has strong links with unions, is trailing the opposition Conservatives in the polls.

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