A day earlier, Mr. Lynch told Sky News that a deal must have been done in December, when the retail price index, a measure of inflation, was at about 7 percent. Since then, the annual rate shot as much as 11.1 percent in April, the best since 1982. The newest wage increase offered by the train operators is way lower than that.
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At a cupboard meeting on Tuesday, Mr. Johnson blamed the R.M.T., saying that the union desired to force unacceptable fare increases on to passengers and to preserve work practices that date to the Victorian era.
“We’d like the union barons to sit down down with Network Rail and the train firms and get on with it,” the prime minister said. “We’d like to get able to stay the course. To remain the course, because these reforms, these improvements in the best way we run our railways, are within the interests of the traveling public.”
Mr. Johnson’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, dismissed the strikes as a “stunt.” Talking to Sky News, he said that if the federal government intervened within the talks, “it wouldn’t resolve anything — in truth, it could make matters worse.”
Signs of the disruption proliferated on Tuesday morning. At Clapham Junction, in South London, passengers waiting for trains to Gatwick Airport said that they’d given themselves several extra hours to make their flights.
“We needed to rise up at 6:30 this morning for a flight at 3 within the afternoon,” said Tim Tredwin, 24, who works for a florist and was flying to Recent York for a vacation. At work, he said, many purchasers called in to cancel office deliveries in the times leading as much as the strike because they knew that many individuals could be working from home.