A massive rail strike means most services will not be operational and with the knock-on effect millions of Britons across the country will face travel chaos
Image: Dumfries and Galloway Standard)
Millions of Britons brace for travel chaos from today as they become embroiled in a massive train strike, the biggest in a generation, after last-ditch talks failed to reach a deal.
Across the country, people will be shocked with just a fifth of services running and half of lines closed amid rows over wages, jobs and conditions – with all sides blaming each other for the lack of progress.
Much of the UK will not have passenger trains throughout the day including most of Scotland and Wales, all of Cornwall and Dorset and places like Chester, Hull, Lincoln and Worcester.
Instead, services will be mostly limited to main lines, and even those will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Thousands of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members at Network Rail and 13 train operators will disembark on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Those operators not involved in the industrial action will continue to suffer disruption as Network Rail signalers go on strike.
London Underground workers will also disembark today.
Reports that Labor has banned its front benchers from picketing, in a memo leaked to Politics Home, have sparked fury among unions.
Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said: “The Labor Party was founded by the unions and we expect Labor MPs to defend workers in word and deed.”
Also affected by the strike are students and parents, who are being urged to create an alternative route to school for Abitur and GCSE exams on Tuesday and Thursday.
Drivers are warned to expect traffic to increase as rail passengers switch to road transport.
The AA predicted that the roads most affected will likely be major freeways and rural and suburban areas.
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About half of the Great Western Railway’s trains serving Castle Cary in Somerset and scheduled to bring revelers to Glastonbury Festival between Wednesday and Friday will be cancelled.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to say before a cabinet meeting today that unions are “damaging the very people they claim to be helping”.
He will accuse unions of “squeezing out commuters who ultimately support railroad workers’ jobs” while hitting businesses across the country.
“Wage demands that are too high will also make it incredibly difficult to cope with the current challenges faced by families around the world with the rising cost of living,” he says.
“Now is the time to find a sensible compromise for the good of the British people and rail workers.”
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Mick Lynch, general secretary of RMT, said Network Rail had offered a 2% pay rise with the possibility of a further 1% later, subject to efficiency savings.
He told the BBC’s Newsnight that Network Rail “escalated” the dispute during Monday’s talks.
He said: “They wrote me a letter saying there will be layoffs from July 1st.
“Rather than trying to resolve this dispute, they escalated it by giving us a formal notice of dismissal among our Network Rail members.”
He warned the dispute could drag on for months, adding: “It is clear that the Tory Government, having cut £4billion in funding from National Rail and Transport for London, is now actively preventing this dispute from being settled Has.
“In addition to the fee freezes of recent years, the railways have now proposed tariffs that are massively below the relevant inflation rates.
“Companies are also trying to cut thousands of jobs at the behest of the government and have failed to provide a guarantee against redundancies.”
The Department for Transport denied Mr Lynch’s shelling, adding that it has cost taxpayers around £600 per household to keep the railway running during the coronavirus pandemic.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/travellers-face-chaos-starting-today-27286533 Travelers face chaos from today as a massive rail strike hits the country