Train strikes: Millions across UK face rail disruption as union action begins – live

Key events

BETA filters

Key events (2)RMT (4)Mick Lynch (3)Grant Shapps (3)Euston (3)Network Rail (3)

Manuel Cortes, secretary general of the Transport Salaried Personnel Association (TSSA), told the PA news agency:

Our Avanti West Coast members are on strike because the deep cost of living crisis created by the Tories means they are losing purchasing power. Of course, many of them haven’t had a raise not just this year, not just last year, but up to four years. So it’s clear that, like the rest of the country, they’re feeling the pinch and it’s getting to the point where it’s unbearable.

What strike is planned for the end of summer?

Further rail strikes are already planned for the coming weeks in what looks like a summer of discontent.

About 6,000 drivers from the Aslef union from eight train companies will join the rail dispute when they strike on July 30.

A repeat of Wednesday’s action by RMT members at Network Rail and 14 train companies is planned for August 18 and 20. Metro workers will also strike again on August 19.

Emily Dugan

Grant Shapps has stepped up the government’s standoff with rail unions by ruling out a meeting with them as a shadow minister said “lives could be lost” if wages do not improve.

Labour’s Sam Tarry challenged his party leadership to picket in Euston on Wednesday morning as rail strikes disrupted journeys for millions.

The Transport Secretary ruled out any meeting with rail unions, even if the situation continued or escalated, in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday morning. Shapps said he was “not the right person to be in the trading room”.

Read more from my colleague Emily Dugan here:

Here’s the latest update from TfL:

Bakerloo — Part suspended. There is no service between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone.

District: Minor delays between Turnham Green and Richmond.

Elizabeth Line: Minor delays. There is a reduced service between Paddington/Heathrow and Reading also between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

London Overground — Part Suspended. No service Barking to Barking Riverside, Surrey Quays to New Cross, Kilburn High Road to Euston, Romford to Upminster and Camden Road to Stratford

The Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo & City, DLR and Tram lines are currently operating with a good service.

Writing in the Telegraph yesterday, the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps said “we must complete Thatcher’s unfinished business”.

In his “recipe” for curbing the abuse of union power, which includes up to 16 measures, Shapps wrote:

I am seeking a ban on strikes by different unions at the same workplace within a given period. We should also put an absolute limit of six pickets on Critical National Infrastructure points, regardless of the number of unions involved, and ban intimidating language.

Shapps also said ballots should clearly set out the specific reason for industrial action and the form of action to be taken, and a minimum of 50 per cent of voters in favor of industrial action in a ballot.

Here are the latest photos of the cables:

Striking members of the RMT and TSSA unions join the picket line at Euston station. Photograph: Guy Smallman/Getty Images Passengers at Waterloo train station, London, as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union take part in a new strike over jobs, pay and conditions. Picture: James Manning/PAThe nearly empty station concourse during rush hour at London’s Euston railway station. Picture: Aaron Chown/PARail, General Secretary of the Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), Mick Lynch (right) and Jeremy Corbyn outside London Euston railway station. Picture: Aaron Chown/Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) PAA member outside Waterloo train station. Photo: James Manning/PA

Updated at 08.59 BST

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said “passengers are being taken for a ride” by these “far-left unions”.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today, Shapps said there was an 8% deal over two years, adding that things were “going well” in the chamber, but it was rejected before it was communicated to members.

Shapps said there hasn’t been a single day in three years when there hasn’t been a strike or the threat of strike action with a warrant for it. Shapps said it shows “we’ve got the balance in the wrong place”.

Asked why he won’t deal directly with Mick Lynch, Shapps said:

This is just a game of the unions, they play it in every industrial action… It is simply because the only ones who can resolve these conflicts are the employers with the unions”.

When asked if he was going down the road of legislation to make it more difficult to strike, Mr Shapps said “yes, and we have already started to do that”. Two changes have already been made to the law, Shapps said, including the ability to bring in agency personnel from other areas of the railroad.

Shadow transport minister Sam Tarry joined striking workers on the picket line at Euston station, despite orders from Keir Starmer to stay away, reports PA.

Tarry told ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

If we don’t take a stand today, lives could be lost. Some of the lowest-ranking workers are on strike today in the rail industry, safety-critical workers, workers who make sure our railroads get people to work and do it safely.

“It can no longer be accepted, that people just have to accept that inflation is out of control. The Government is doing nothing about the cost of living crisis.”

He added that if Starmer was in government right now, the row would not be happening.

“I have absolutely 100% confidence that any Labor MP would support striking workers who have given up a day’s pay, a week’s pay or even more,” Tarry added.

Asked by BBC Breakfast if Keir Starmer should be there, Tarry said:

I think any Labor MP or campaigner, the half million of us across the country, will have absolute solidarity with the striking doctors. Whether they’re doctors, whether they’re teachers, whether they’re postal workers, because the people of this country are fed up with 10 years of austerity followed by runaway inflation.

Mick Lynch: There’s been no offer that’s ‘ever been acceptable’ to us

The RMT union leader said there is no deal that “is not acceptable to us”.

Asked by the BBC’s flagship morning news programme, Radio 4’s Today, if there was a deal he has rejected, RMT union leader Mick Lynch said “no, that’s plain and simple propaganda”. Lynch said they presented the deal to our members at mass meetings of their representatives across the country.

Lynch said the proposals they have at the moment are unacceptable and said the decision is not in the hands of a secret body, but in the hands of the “ordinary men and women who make up our union” who are on strike today.

“It’s quite difficult to be a union in this country, it feels quite oppressive,” Lynch added. “It’s not about power, it’s about jobs, conditions, pay and pensions.”

Asked if they are getting the support they should from the Labor party, Lynch said Keir Starmer needs to get in tune with where working class people are “because they are being ripped off in this society in this moment”.

Lynch called on Starmer to craft a bill of rights and a set of labor laws that would “bring balance to our society and rebalance our economy.”

Updated at 08.24 BST

Speaking to the BBC’s flagship morning news programme, Radio 4’s Today, the Network Rail chief executive said he believed RMT negotiators were being overruled by union leaders and the deal should be put to the members

Andrew Haines said:

We thought we were making good progress, and this has happened twice now, when the negotiators go back to the RMT executive, we suddenly have a change of tone and end up with more strikes.

Strike action begins

Good morning. Railroads will stop again on Wednesday as workers strike over pay, job security and working conditions.

The strikes involve more than 40,000 workers at Network Rail, 14 train companies and members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union.

Transport for London services will be affected by the disruption as they use sections of track that are under the jurisdiction of Network Rail. There will also be a stand by members of the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), who work for Avanti West Coast.

“Network Rail has not improved its previous payment offer and the train companies have not offered us anything new,” RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said. “The government must stop its interference in this dispute so that the rail employers can reach a negotiated settlement with us.”

Today’s strike comes after union leaders rejected a “miserable” offer of a 4% pay rise for the rest of 2022 from Network Rail, and a possible 4% next year if workers they accepted changes in working conditions.

After the strike announcement, Network Rail accused the union of “walking away” from talks and said the action could have been avoided. “It is now abundantly clear that their political campaigning takes precedence over representing the interests of their members,” said Tim Shoveller, lead negotiator for Network Rail.

Read more here:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *