What the papers say – June 21

Tuesday’s papers focus on the industrial action kicking off across Britain today.

21 June 2022

The front pages are again dominated by Britain’s “biggest rail shutdown in 30 years” which begins today and will see “millions of passengers’ journeys disrupted”.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has accused ministers of preventing the resolution of the dispute by blocking Network Rail and train operating companies from negotiating freely on pay, jobs and conditions, The Independent says.

The Guardian reports the Prime Minister has inflamed industrial action by allowing firms to bring in agency staff, a move unions have decried as “unworkable, unsafe and potentially breaking international law”.

The Daily Telegraph’s rail strike coverage leads with Boris Johnson accusing the trade unions of “harming the very people they claim to be helping” as he rejected demands for a pay rise of at least seven per cent.

The Daily Express also focuses on the PM’s response to the unions, with his call for “sensible” pay deals and “compromise for (the) good of (the) British people”.

“Union barons will force towns and cities into ‘lockdown’ and cost business firms £1 billion this week,” the Daily Mail says business leaders have warned.

“It’s all going a bit loco,” Metro says of the strike as “mayhem for commuters” begins today.

The Daily Mirror levels the blame for the “travel chaos” on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps after he “snubbed late talks to stop the strikes”.

The Daily Star adds that the UK’s “worst strikes for 30 years” have been exacerbated by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab being put temporarily “in charge of the country” while Mr Johnson recovers from a minor sinus operation.

The Financial Times reports that the head of the Trades Union Congress has warned that workers in other industries will also be considering strike action, with some experiencing “10 years of wages stagnating or being cut”.

Also carrying the strike, The Times writes that exams, medical treatment, business and the Glastonbury Festival will all be disrupted this week after the rail union rejected a three per cent “no strings” pay rise for staff.

Elsewhere, the i carries an exclusive claiming a leaked letter from the PM’s chief of staff to Rishi Sunak has revealed a plan for “deregulatory measures to reduce the overall burden on business” in a bid to show overseas companies the “benefits of Brexit”.

And The Sun says EastEnders star Jessie Wallace has been arrested for kneeing a police officer in the groin during “a rant in a drunken bust-up outside a nightclub”.

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