More misery for train commuters as RMT calls another national strike

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On five of the first nine days in October, train passengers will be affected by strikes.

On Saturday 8 October, the RMT union called on more than 40,000 Network Rail employees and 15 train operators. The shutdown also affects the trains of the next day.

The newly announced strike comes on top of the strikes on Saturday, October 1, by the RMT and Aslef, the train drivers’ union, which will disrupt the trains the next day.

The drivers of a dozen drivers will also be leaving on Wednesday 5 October. It means that for the first nine days of next month, normal services can only be expected on October 3, 4, 6 and 7.

Announcing the additional strike, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch confirmed that the union was involved in talks with the new transport secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Mr Lynch said: “We welcome this more positive approach from the Government to engage with us as a first step towards finding a suitable settlement.

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“However, as no new offer has been submitted, our members have no choice but to continue this strike action.

“We will continue to negotiate in good faith, but employers and government must understand that our industrial campaign will continue for as long as it takes.”

The main effect of the strike will be that at least half of the passenger rail line will be closed due to the absence of approximately 5,000 Network Rail signalmen. Some trains will run on the remaining part of the network, but with greatly reduced service.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “This latest strike will again cause major disruption to passengers, and we will ask people to travel alone if absolutely necessary due to the reduced service that will apply. Full timetables for all upcoming strike days will be published in due course.”

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The train operators include the major London-oriented companies: Greater Anglia, GTR (including Southern, Great Northern, Thameslink on the Gatwick Express), Southeastern and South Western Railway.

Major intercity operators will be affected: Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, LNER and TransPennine Express.

The other operators are Chiltern Railways, c2c, Northern Trains and West Midlands Trains.

Rail unions are embroiled in a deep and bitter dispute over pay, jobs and work practices with Network Rail, the train operators and the government.

Union bosses say the Department for Transport (DfT) is pulling the strings and stopping operators from making wage offers that would approach current inflation — nearly 10 percent.

The government states that every wage settlement must include productivity agreements for the ‘modernization’ of the railway network. Since the coronavirus pandemic, ticket revenues have fallen by a fifth, with far fewer commuters buying season tickets.

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A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train operators, said: “This strike will affect sports fans, friends and families planning to meet and the RMT members themselves who have already lost at least many hundreds of pounds as a result. of strikes since June.

“Rather than taking more counterproductive action that will further alienate the customers we need to secure the industry’s long-term future, the RMT leadership needs to commit to serious reforms. This will allow us to improve service and deliver a fair deal for our people, passengers and taxpayers.”

The strike call was made on World Car Free Day.

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