Britain could soon be set to face strikes in other sectors with teachers, doctors, binmen and post workers warning they could follow rail workers in taking action.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail (NR) and 13 train operators will strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with only around one in five trains running and disruption to services on days following the action.
The RMT and Unite are also holding a 24-hour walkout on London Underground which will cause huge disruption to the Tube.
More than half of the trains serving Glastonbury Festival at the weekend have also been cancelled.
This week's train strikes are set to cause chaos across the country Ian West
Great Western Railway (GWR) is operating just five services from London Paddington to Castle Cary on Thursday, with a total of 24 between Wednesday and Friday.
Before the industrial action was announced, 51 trains were expected to run on the route over the three-day period.
While many have called for the Government to intervene in order to prevent the action, Downing Street has said it “wouldn’t be helpful” for ministers to get involved.
But as the rail strike begins, the NASUWT teaching union said over the weekend that 300,000 of its members would ballot for action unless their calls for a 12 percent pay rise are met.
Health workers could be set to walk out in a dispute over pay Hannah McKay
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: “The country faces an existential emergency for the future of the teaching profession.
“Teachers are suffering, not only from the cost-of-living crisis, which the whole country is grappling with, but 12 years of real terms pay cuts which has left a 20% shortfall in the value of their salaries.
“If the Government and the pay review body reject a positive programme of restorative pay awards for teachers, then we will be asking our members whether they are prepared to take national industrial action in response.”
Health workers could also be set to strike if the upcoming pay offer by the NHS falls short of the 9.2 percent inflation rate.
Such a strike could cause chaos among the health sector, with appointments and operations missed as a result.
General secretary Christina McAnea said: 'The Government has a simple choice. Either it makes a sensible pay award, investing in staff and services and reducing delays for patients or it risks a potential dispute, growing workforce shortages and increased suffering for the sick.'
A further 115,000 Royal Mail post workers are set to be balloted by the Communication Workers Union after being told that they would receive a 2 percent wage rise.
Strikes could also affect binmen, with unions warning that local Government staff could also walk out unless they receive a £2,000 pay increase each.