The biggest railway strike to hit Great Britain in 30 years slowed the island’s public transportation system to a crawl on Tuesday, affecting roughly 80% of railways.

More than 40,000 railway workers took to picket lines all across England, Scotland, and Wales, following a breakdown in last-minute negotiations on Monday between their trade union and private train operators.

Workers are seeking a cost-of-living wage increase of at least 7% and guarantees against layoffs, but they have not received a satisfying counteroffer.

The labor conflict unfolds as skyrocketing inflation and a looming recession wreak economic insecurity across Great Britain.

Millions of commuters had to work remotely or make different accommodations to get to work that day, and renewed talks between union leaders and operators failed Wednesday, according to The Guardian.

A poll conducted by Savanta ComRes the day before the strike found that most respondents believed the work stoppage was justified.

However, a YouGov poll conducted the same day indicated a larger proportion of respondents opposed the strike, 45%, up against 37% of respondents who registered their support, per Yahoo! News.

“White-collar workers, who can simply stay at home, use their computers, log in by Zoom or Teams, will carry on as before,” said Government Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps, speaking with Sky News.

He added, “The people that are hurting are people who physically need to turn out for work maybe on lower pay, perhaps the cleaners in hospitals and the rest, and it’s very damaging of these unions; I absolutely deplore what they’re doing today.”

For his part, the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, Mick Lynch, stated on BBC News, “We’re not special. The whole country is suffering, and we have got a membership and a trade union that is prepared to fight for what we’ve got.”