Christmas gifts could be hit by rail strikes as festive deliveries arrive

Stockpiling for the bank holiday is already underway and the strikes will cause logistical problems as more than 600 freight trains travel the UK every day

Last minute Christmas shoppers in Liverpool
Christmas gifts could be affected by the rail strikes

Christmas presents could be affected by the series of rail strikes, it was said last night.

Stockpiling for the holiday season is already underway and the strikes are expected to cause logistical problems.

More than 600 freight trains ply the UK every day, hauling billions of pounds of goods such as TVs, clothes and Christmas decorations.

A senior industry figure said: “As the year progresses, freight traffic gets busier, especially for containers, so that’s the big concern.

“The China wave will come – and these ships are sailing now.

“Things always get busier in August, especially when we start seeing Christmas stuff.”

Last week ministers decided to give rail freight priority over passenger transport. They claimed they wanted to make sure supermarkets didn’t run out of groceries.

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RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch



It came as 40,000 rail workers walked off the job for three days to demand wage increases and better conditions.

The rail, shipping and transport union is now expected to seek new industrial action late next month.

General Secretary Mick Lynch has been mandated by members to continue the strikes for up to six months. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said there was “no point” in giving workers inflation-dampening wage increases to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

The prime minister dismissed calls for increases of more than 3% for public sector staff, despite rates rising at 9.1% annually and tipping to 11%.

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Speaking at the G7 summit yesterday, he shattered hopes staff could be spared a real pay cut and suggested increases could trigger a wage-price spiral.

He told ITV that No 10 was “making the sensible and responsible decisions to achieve the strongest possible economic recovery” from the pandemic.

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