ravel plans face major disruption on Saturday as rail workers strike for the third time this week and union supremo Mick Lynch warned there will be more strikes this year if a deal is not agreed.
“We won’t hesitate to use more industrial action if we can’t reach an agreement or if the companies carry through their threats to make people redundant,” he told Sky News.
“There’s a long way to go yet.”
Led by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), approximately a fifth of rail services are operating while up to half the lines across the country will be closed on Saturday, with many only running between between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Union members at Network Rail and 13 other train operators are staging a walk out which will impact lines such as Southern Rail, Thameslink, Southeastern, South Western, and LNER, all of which are running reduced timetables.
The London Overground is also running a reduced service and is part closed. The District and Bakerloo lines are also part suspended, while the central, cirlcle, and metropolitan lines are experiencing minor to severe delays as of Saturday morning – the DLR is also affected.
All other lines on the Tube network are mostlty unaffected, although Transport for London is running a reduced service o nthe Elizabeth Line and has advised travellers to expect disruption.
Labour MPs join picket despite being told to stay away
Liverpool Labour MPs Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Kim Johnson and Paula Barker joined a rally in support of the RMT outside the city’s Lime Street station on Saturday.
Addressing the crowd, Mr Byrne said: “It is a privilege to be able to speak today, show my solidarity to the RMT striking membership and thank this magnificent union for everything they have done for our class this week.”
He said a photograph of himself and other Labour MPs on a picket line earlier this week, which was published on the front page of the Daily Mail newspaper, now has “pride of place” in his office.
The Liverpool West Derby MP said: “We must use this moment to begin to rebalance the scales of injustice which is waged against the working class.
“This is the moment when the country is saying ‘enough is enough’.”
Jeremy Corbyn joins RMT union picket line at Newcastle Central Station
Pictured: Sign warns of RMT union strike action at Waterloo station
Grant Shapps says we must ‘banish outdated working practices’ on railways
In a series of tweets, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our railway is a proud part of our history and has served us well for 200 years, but if we want it to serve us for the next 200 then it must move with the times and banish the outdated working practices that are holding it back.
“For instance, did you know, Sunday working laws haven’t been updated since 1919. That means, for some Train Operating Companies, Sundays aren’t part of the working week and they have to rely on the ‘good will’ of employees to work them – while receiving substantial overtime pay!”
Mr Shapps also criticised “maintenance laws”, saying: “The rostering of individuals or training of multiskilled workers isn’t allowed. It means for a job that could, in theory, be completed by one person, whole teams have to be sent. Even worse, these teams won’t share vans or equipment either.
“Not only that but maintenance teams aren’t allowed to cross one geographical boundary to another, even neighbouring ones to carry out vital repairs. It means a team based at Euston wouldn’t be able to walk 500 yards to Kings Cross to fix an urgent points failure.
“Practices such as this aren’t just archaic, they are hugely damaging to commuters’ daily lives and the economy, causing people to be late for work or miss hospital appointments and, as an industry, we must change.”
Labour MP donates part of salary to local RMT strike fund
A Labour MP has donated £2,000 to the strike fund of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union.
Nadia Whittome, the MP for Nottingham East, joined striking rail workers outside Nottingham Station on Thursday and will also speak at their rally there on Saturday.
RMT members are staging their third strike of the week in a bitter dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
When Ms Whittome was elected, she pledged to share her MP’s salary with local causes in Nottingham.
She has previously made donations to the local branches of other unions – the IWGB Couriers and the App Driver and Couriers Union – as well as a range of charities, not-for-profits and grassroots groups.
She takes home £35,000 per year after tax, donating the remainder.
Commenting on her donation to the RMT, Ms Whittome said: “Rail strikers are leading the way for workers in the cost-of-living crisis – demanding decent pay and conditions to keep up with the cost of soaring inflation.
“It’s workers like them who need a pay rise, not MPs. That’s why I’m donating £2,000 from my salary to my local RMT branch strike fund.
“When workers go on strike they don’t get paid. So this money will help to ensure that no-one faces hardship as a result of standing up for themselves at work.”
Most people want Government to intervene in rail dispute, poll finds
Most people believe the Government should intervene in the rail dispute and support the workers’ right to strike when talks fail, according to a new poll.
A survey of 2,000 people carried out by Opinium for the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union found fewer than one in five supports cuts to staff on trains and stations.
Seven out of 10 respondents said rail workers should have a negotiated pay rise that takes into account the cost of living, and 59% believe staff have the right to strike if negotiations fail.
Three out of five of those polled said the Government should intervene to ensure rail companies meet the workers’ concerns.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This poll supports the evidence we’ve seen on the picket lines this week. There is strong support for rail workers to receive a fairer deal and for the Government to intervene to address rail workers’ concerns.
“A clear majority of the public also support rail workers’ right to strike.
“There is also massive public opposition to plans to cut thousands of track, train, and station jobs, and to the Government’s policy of allowing profiteering from the rail industry.
“It’s time the Government listened to the public instead of picking political fights with rail workers.”
Mick Lynch refuses to rule out strike action
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the union has not ruled out further strike action with there being little sign of a breakthrough to the deadlocked row.
Mr Lynch joined workers on a picket line outside Euston Station in central London on Saturday morning.
Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “We’re not ruling out strikes but we have not put down any dates for any strike action.
“We’re going to review with our national executive next week, who have been all the way round the country this week on the picket line, so we’re all going to get together the leadership of the union and see where we are.
“We are not going to name dates immediately and we’re going to continue working constructively with the companies to strike a deal, but that is a really steep challenge at the moment because of the agenda they’ve got and the effects they want on our members.
“Strike action’s not ruled out and it will have to take place if we do not get a deal, but we’re hoping that we can get a deal and we get some compromise.
“What we try to do is have the most effective strike action if it needs to take place. We’re not just pretending. It’s got to be a coherent and effective strike action because we don’t want to waste our members’ energy on something that doesn’t work. We’ll review that and see what we need to do if we need to take that action.”
Services running as usual at Paddington
All appeared calm at Paddington Station in west London on Saturday morning with notable services such as Elizabeth Line trains to Reading via Twyford and to Heathrow T4, and GWR services to Bristol Parkway operating as usual.
All trains expected to arrive at Paddington Station until at least 10:54 were listed as being on time, or with five minutes or fewer delay.
More than 12 members of staff, most of whom wearing purple Network Rail high vis jackets, were on hand to provide advice to passengers.
Fewer than 100 members of the public were sitting waiting for news of when to board services, and the concourse remained clear.
Seaside resorts without rail services due to strikes
Beachgoers have been left disappointed due to the lack of rail services at seaside resorts.
Resorts including Bournemouth in Dorset, Blackpool in Lancashire and Margate in Kent are without rail services today.
Cornwall will also have no trains.
Services will be primarily restricted to main lines, which will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Public has a right to expect reforms to rail services, says PM
The public has a right to expect reforms to rail services, the Prime Minister has said.
Boris Johnson told Sky News: “I would say, given the circumstances we’re in, I think what we want to see is reform and improvement in the way the railways work, and modernisation.
“When you’ve got a 25% fall in ridership, which we’ve got at the moment, we’ve got the Government putting billions and billion (into it).
“We’re putting more into the railways than any previous government.
“I think the traveling public has a right to expect some basic reforms, like with ticket offices, like with walking time, and some of these other practices that really nobody defends except the union leaders.”