Senior criminal lawyers in England and Wales on Monday went on strike in a dispute over pay, just days after rail workers staged stoppages and other sectors threatened industrial action. Barristers have threatened a series of walkouts over the coming weeks and to refuse to accept new cases or cover for colleagues as part of the action. The action fuels fears of a “summer of discontent” as a growing number of key worker groups demand pay rises to combat rising inflation, which has hit 9.1 percent — a 40-year high. In London, several hundred barristers — some dressed in their trademark horsehair wigs and black gowns — staged a picket outside the Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey. Other lawyers staged similar actions in five other cities including Cardiff and Manchester. Some held up placards reading “£12,200 median income in first three years, 300 left last year”, in a reference to the pay of the most junior barristers, many of whom are leaving the profession. Justice Minister Dominic Raab — a former lawyer — hit back, saying the strike action was “regrettable” and would “only delay justice for victims”.