The railroad chaos continues as workers stage their third 24-hour strike in a week today

Passengers have been told to travel only if necessary, as strikes leave half train lines closed and just a fifth of rail services running on Saturday

RMT union members hold placards at the picket line outside London Bridge Station
RMT union members hold placards at the picket line outside London Bridge Station

Train services are paralyzed again on Saturday as thousands of workers fight another 24-hour strike in a bitter dispute over jobs, wages and working conditions.

Rail, Shipping and Transport Union (RMT) members walk out for a third time this week with no sign of a break in the deadlock.

Passengers have been urged by beleaguered rail operators to only travel when necessary, with just a fifth of services operational and up to half of lines closed.

Many seaside resorts have no services on Saturday including Bournemouth, Dorset; Blackpool, Lancashire; Margate, Kent; Llandudno, North Wales; and Skegness, Lincolnshire. Cornwall will also have no trains.

Service will be mainly limited to main lines, but again these will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm. The disruption will last until Sunday.

The service was suspended for most of the week as a bitter dispute rages on over pay and conditions

Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, said: “We are very disappointed that the RMT union leadership has decided to take action that will cause serious inconvenience to the millions of people who had plans over the weekend .

“While we will do our best to minimize passenger disruption, we advise you to only travel if necessary and if you travel please plan ahead.”

Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said: “Unfortunately, the RMT’s decision to conduct another day of unnecessary and premature strike action means our passengers will suffer again on Saturday.

“Compared to a typical Saturday service, a fraction of the trains will operate, with trains starting later in the morning and ending much earlier in the evening.

“I am truly sorry to our passengers for the inevitable disruption to their travels and weekend.

Train traffic will also be severely restricted on Saturday

“We remain at the table day and night ready to talk and will do everything possible to avoid further disruption to our passengers.”

This week’s strikes are estimated to have cost the rail industry up to £150m in lost revenue and the consequences of planned modernization work being called off.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said its members “stand by all working people who are trying to get a raise and some job security”.

He continued: “In a modern economy, workers need to be paid well for their work, enjoy good conditions and the assurance that their jobs will not be taken away from them.

Secretary General Mick Lynch defended the RMT’s decision to strike again

“(Transport Secretary) Grant Shapps has to get in the room or get out of the way so we can deal with these companies with whom we’ve done dozens of successful deals before.

“What we cannot accept is thousands of railway workers being thrown into the scrapyard after being hailed as heroes during Covid.

“RMT will continue its industrial campaign until a negotiated settlement is reached.”

Mr Shapps said that while the strikes have hit some people at “the worst possible time”, this week has also shown that they are not as effective a tool for unions as they used to be.

Thousands of employees will move out on Saturday

“Despite what the RMT claims, we haven’t seen the level of bus overcrowding or severe road congestion that some have feared because the world has changed and many more people are now able to work from home,” he said.

Talks between the RMT and rail employers continued throughout the week and are expected to resume in the next few days.

The RMT’s Twitter account has gained more than 60,000 new followers in the past week.

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