Only around one in five trains across the UK will operate today, as tens of thousands of workers go on strike again in the latest round of industrial action to hit the rail network.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) will both strike once more as the dispute over pay and network modernisation continues.
Only around half of the UK’s rail network will be open, with trains only running between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Read more: Who is going on strike in August and for how long?
Major operators, including those that run cross-country services, such as London North East Railway and Avanti West Coast, will be affected.
Some areas are expected to have no services all day.
It rounds off three days of disruption on the UK’s railways, with strikes also taking place on Thursday, and walkouts happening on the London tube network yesterday.
A walkout on a large part of the London bus network also continues into its second day today.
Sunday morning train services will also be affected by the knock-on effect of today’s action.
Unions have been calling for Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to return to the negotiating table to make improved offers on pay, and offer guarantees that no jobs will be lost, amid reports of proposed modernisation cuts throughout the network.
Mr Shapps has also been accused by the unions of supporting a practice known as fire and re-hire, which would see rail operators continue to let staff go, before taking them back on contracts with lower conditions than before, unless strike action is called off.
In turn, the transport secretary has called for union bosses to put the pay deals offered to their members, or get out of the way.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Despite his denials, Mr Shapps has clearly been dictating how the train companies should conduct negotiations with RMT, and now he’s ordering them to fire and re-hire workers.
“The minister also appears to be increasingly desperate and out-of-touch, making wild claims about train services between London and Manchester without having a clue what is actually happening.
“Instead of threatening to cut thousands of safety-critical jobs, introducing driver-only trains, closing ticket offices, bailing out the private rail companies as well as bringing in more anti-union laws, the government and the employers should enter meaningful negotiations with RMT.”
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, added: “We very much hope that common sense will now prevail, and the Department for Transport train operators will make a revised offer, as we have heard nothing from them since their derisory and insulting 2% pay offer with more strings attached than a violin quartet many weeks ago.
“If they do, we will engage in further discussions with them at once. But for this to happen, Grant Shapps must either come to the table or give train operators the mandate to negotiate and break this impasse.
“We are continuing to engage with Network Rail and talks are ongoing. We hope the gap between us can soon be closed. But following more comments from the transport secretary this morning, it seems to us that Grant Shapps is willing to talk to everyone apart from our reps.
“Make no mistake, unless a negotiated settlement which is acceptable to our members is reached, this dispute will continue for as long as it takes.”
Mr Shapps said: “It’s clear, from their co-ordinated approach, that the unions are hell-bent on causing as much misery as possible to the very same taxpayers who stumped up £600 per household to ensure not a single rail worker lost their job during the pandemic.
“Sadly, union chiefs have short memories and will be repaying this act of good faith by ruining millions of hard-working people’s summer plans.”
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