ail strikes could escalate if no deal can be agreed, the RMT’s general secretary has warned.
Mick Lynch said he can’t see Saturday’s strike being avoided as train passengers were urged to travel only if necessary today on the second day of RMT walkout on Britain’s railways.
Asked about the walkout on the weekend, he told Sky News: “It’s a tough job. It will take a lot of progress to get that strike off. I can’t see that happening today from where I am, but we will work constructively with the companies.”
The union confirmed industrial action would go ahead as planned after talks between the union, Network Rail and train operators hit a stumbling block once again on Wednesday afternoon.
At least 40,000 RMT members will picket amid an ongoing dispute over redundancies and real-term pay cuts. The railway will run at 20 per cent capacity, with many of the last inter-city trains set to leave in mid-afternoon.
The London Tube is mostly not affected though the new Elizabeth line and the London Overground, both of which use national rail lines, will be. Commuters are being told to complete their journeys on both lines by 6pm. Disruption is expected to continue into Friday.
‘Millions’ more people working from home
Millions more Brits are working from home this week due to the nationwide rail strikes, according to Virgin Media O2.
The broadband provider saw a peak 5 percent week-on-week lift in its upstream traffic on Tuesday, due to an increase of video calls on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Pictured: People wait for trains at Liverpool Street Station
Elizabeth Line partly closes after vandalism
There’s more disruption for Elizabeth Line passengers today, but this time it’s vandalism.
Commuters heading towards Shenfield will have to change at Liverpool Street for the Central Line, then back to the Elizabeth Line at Stratford to continue their journey.
“Somebody threw something on the track between Stratford and Liverpool Street,” one staff member said at Liverpool Street station.
“I don’t know why, some people are just not OK.”
London road congestion higher than same time last week
TomTom figures show the level of road congestion at 9am in London was higher than the same time last week.
But congestion levels remained lower or relatively stable in other cities.
In London, congestion levels increased from 75 percent on June 16 to 83 percent on Thursday.
But in Glasgow congestion levels fell from 40 to 36 percent, and in Liverpool levels fell slightly from 49 percent to 47 percent.
In Manchester, congestion levels rose from 64 to 66 percent.
Rail strikes impact holidaymakers’ journeys to London’s airports
Crowds of holidaymakers fretted about missing their flights as train delays left them stuck at London’s Liverpool Street station.
The Stansted Express normally leaves twice an hour from Britain’s third-busiest station, but strike action has reduced this down to one.
One man, who was returning to Sofia in Bulgaria after three days in London, complained in broken English that the experience was “stressful”.
Asked how much longer he expected to wait, the man – who had been stranded at the station for half an hour – said: “I don’t know, I’m just looking at the board, I hope not too long.
“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating because I’m here on holidays, but it’s a bit stressful”.
Pictured: Passengers pass through Waterloo station
Labour MP joins picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street
Labour MP for Birkenhead Mick Whitley joined RMT members on a picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station.
He said: “I think every Labour MP should come out. Let’s have it right, the Labour Party was born out of the trade union movement and they are our political voice in Parliament so every Labour MP should be out.”
He said a pay deal reached with Merseyrail reinforced the argument that the Government was “manufacturing the dispute”.
He added: “We don’t want to mess up people’s travel arrangements but if you’re pushed into a corner you have got to do something.”
Rail Delivery Group chair: Hopefully nobody requires to be made compulsory redundant
Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, was asked by BBC Breakfast why rail workers are not being given a guarantee that reforms will not lead to compulsory redundancies.
He replied: “What we don’t understand until we start the reform process and we agree the key principles … is how far the reform will be allowed to go.
“If we put voluntary severance out to people, how many people will take that voluntary severance?
“How many people can we retrain and put on to other jobs?”
He added: “We believe that once we work through with the reform, that we can hopefully accommodate everybody who wants to stay within the organisation.
“So, we just need to get through the processes and see how many people are left, and hopefully nobody requires to be made compulsory redundant.”