RMT confirm rail strikes will go ahead on Thursday
More railway workers are to vote on strikes, threatening fresh disruption in the industry throughout the summer, it was announced on Thursday.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) served notice to ballot dozens of members at TransPennine Express (TPE) for strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over pay, conditions and job security.
The union is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for 2022, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living.
The ballot opens on 29 June and closes in mid-July, so the earliest that industrial action could be taken is 27 July.
The TSSA is also balloting its members in Network Rail, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, Northern, LNER, C2C and Great Western Railway (GWR) in an escalating dispute across the railway.
Disruptions to continue today as only 60% of trains will run
Disruptions are set to continue on Friday as only 60 per cent of the trains will run today.
The third rail strike is scheduled for Saturday, and the RMT union boss has said that more strikes will likely happen if talks fail.
On Thursday, talks between Network Rail and the RMT union took place but no resolution was achieved. Around 40,000 RMT members at Network Rail and 13 train operators walked out again yesterday.
Maroosha Muzaffar24 June 2022 05:35
Network Rail chief says collapse of talks ‘hugely frustrating’
Tim Shoveller, the chief negotiator for Network Rail has said that the collapse of talks between them and the unions is “hugely frustrating.”
He said that he had hoped to stop Wednesday’s strike — the second day of the rail strikes — and that it was frustrating as the strike was causing massive disruptions.
Network Rail has, however, blamed RMT — and not the government — for stalling negotiations.
Mr Shoveller said that they thought that they had struck a deal on Wednesday until the RMT leadership left the room to consult their board.
Around 40,000 RMT members at Network Rail and 13 train operators walked out again on Thursday.
The RMT is seeking a pay rise of at least 7 per cent for its members, while employers have offered a maximum of 3 per cent.
Maroosha Muzaffar24 June 2022 05:15
More strikes likes to happen, union head says
The RMT union chief Mick Lynch has said that more rail strikes are “extremely likely” if talks between rail bosses and unions continue to fail.
Another walkout is scheduled for tomorrow.
Mr Lynch has accused the government of blocking a deal but the government has refused this claim.
Downing Street has demanded that the unions call off the strikes “as quickly as possible” but Mr Lynch was earlier quoted as saying by the BBC that Saturday’s industrial action might not be the last.
He said talks would continue and fresh strikes might happen “if and when there needs to be a new phase of industrial action. But if we don’t get a settlement, it’s extremely likely there will be.”
Maroosha Muzaffar24 June 2022 04:50
Mr Lynch added: “We think that’s what every worker in Britain, in every business should have. But what we’re faced with now is a clampdown. And it’s a deliberate clampdown by the government… and they’re using the temporary phenomenon of Covid as an excuse to rip out and strip out terms and conditions.”
Katy Clifton24 June 2022 01:30
Rail workers treated as ‘out of fashion’
Union boss Mike Lynch has said the government lorded rail workers as “heroes” during the pandemic, only to treat them as “out of fashion” now restrictions have lifted.
Speaking on BBC One’s Question Time, the head of the RMT union said: “We were lorded as heroes by Grant Shapps, they worked all the way through the pandemic, they were not furloughed, and they kept our railway and transport systems going.
“But what they’re being told now as a result of that, is that you’re out of fashion, you’re out of date, somehow the terms and conditions that we’ve negotiated over many years and we think are a fair deal…”
Katy Clifton24 June 2022 00:38
Emily Eavis thanks Glastonbury festivalgoers for their commitment and support
Emily Eavis has thanked Glastonbury festivalgoers for their commitment in attending the event, saying she thinks “the best people in the world come here”.
The 42-year-old co-organiser of the event was speaking the day after the festival opened its gates for the first time in three years after it was cancelled twice amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The music offering this year features headliners Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar, with Diana Ross filling the Sunday Teatime Legends slot.
Eleanor Sly23 June 2022 21:55
What train services will run on Friday after the latest strike?
Train services will continue to be disrupted on Friday due to the knock-on effects of the second day of this week’s rail strikes.
Eleanor Sly23 June 2022 20:30
Passenger numbers below 20 per cent as train services disrupted by second day of strikes
Passenger numbers at major railway stations were below a fifth of usual levels as services were hit on the second day of rail strikes.
Network Rail said the amount of people using its stations on Tuesday, the first day of this week’s strikes, was 12-18 per cent of normal, and there was a similar situation on Thursday.
Edinburgh Waverley, London Euston, London Paddington and Liverpool Lime Street were among the stations with far fewer passengers than a typical weekday.
Eleanor Sly23 June 2022 19:50
Sadiq Khan: Government has ‘zero engagement’ over TfL funding crisis
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has accused the government of “zero engagement” over Transport for London’s (TfL) funding crisis, as the settlement currently in place reaches expiration.
Sadiq Khan said that this could lead to cuts which have “never been seen in London before” just a day before the fourth funding settlement of the pandemic, which took government support to £5 billion, reaches an end on Friday.
The mayor said that without a long-term funding plan Londoners would see a 10 per cent reduction in Underground services, which is the equivalent of an entire Tube line. It could also mean the loss of more than 100 bus routes.
Speaking at a TfL bus garage in East Ham on Thursday, Mr Khan said: “For months now, I’ve been asking to start constructive negotiations with ministers so that we can agree to a fair and sustainable funding deal for TfL.
“We’ve had zero engagement from the Transport Secretary, and we’ve yet to see any proposals for a long-term funding deal.
“More short-term extensions with no promise of any additional long-term funding simply doesn’t cut it.
“It’s no way to treat Londoners and the transport network they rely upon – if the government continues to refuse to provide a fair funding deal, TfL will be forced to put our transport network into managed decline.”
Eleanor Sly23 June 2022 19:10
UK government should ‘respect’ striking workers, says Sturgeon
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the UK government should have “respect” for workers and that they need to resolve the train dispute that is “crippling” the UK.
Ms Sturgeon was asked during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday whether or not she believes the UK government’s reported proposals to allow agency staff to replace striking workers is simply “inflaming” the issue.
She reponded: “[Workers] are paying the price for Tory anti-trade union rhetoric, in fact, anti-trade unionism which I completely deprecate.
“We should respect workers across the economy. We should respect public sector workers and we should seek to negotiate fair resolution to disputes, particularly at a time of inflation – inflation being exacerbated in the UK by the folly of Brexit.
“The rail strike that is crippling the UK right now is not the result of a pay dispute with ScotRail. It is a dispute with Network Rail and with English train operating companies, therefore it is entirely a reserved matter.”
The First Minister added that she understands that there is a danger of the dispute “escalating” should resolution fail to be reached between rail employers and unions.
Eleanor Sly23 June 2022 18:38