Train, subway and bus passengers will face four days of misery as tens of thousands of workers stage another round of strikes.
In recent months, several strikes they have been carried out as part of a longstanding dispute over wages, jobs and working conditions.
From Thursday, Network Rail, train companies, the London Underground and the capital’s buses will be hit by strikes, causing disruption to workers, commuters and fans attending events including a match. test cricket at Lords.
The industrial action will affect services until the end of the weekend.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) and Unite will take part after ongoing talks failed to break deadlocked ranks.
When are the strikes?
RMT members at Network Rail and 14 train operators, TSSA members at seven companies and Unite members also at Network Rail will leave on Thursday, causing a domino effect on services on Friday morning.
Services on Friday will also be rocked by strikes by RMT and Unite members on the London Underground, as well as Unite members on London United bus routes.
On Saturday, the same groups of workers, excluding members of the London Underground, will strike again.
As a result, Sunday morning train services will be affected.
Rail services on Thursday and Saturday will be drastically reduced, with only a fifth running and half of the lines closed.
Trains will only operate between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm on both days of the strike, and pickets will be set up outside train stations across the country.
People who cannot travel on Thursday or Saturday can use their ticket the day before or until August 23, or request a refund.
‘The train operating companies have not offered anything new’
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said his union members are more determined than ever to protect their pensions, secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions, and will “not tolerate being bullied or cheated”. .
“Network Rail has not improved its previous salary offer and the train operators have not offered us anything new,” he said.
He also claimed that Tube bosses are having “secret negotiations” with the government over job cuts and Network Rail is threatening to “impose compulsory redundancies” if the strikes continue.
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“RMT will continue to negotiate in good faith, but we cannot tolerate being intimidated or tricked into accepting unfair treatment for our members,” it added.
“The government needs to stop interfering in these disputes, so the employers can come to a negotiated settlement with us.”
‘This can’t go on’
TSSA members taking action include personnel working in ticket offices, stations, control rooms, engineering, as well as in planning, scheduling, and other support functions.
The union is seeking guarantees of no compulsory layoffs, a wage increase in line with the cost of living, and promises of no unilateral alterations to labor terms and conditions.
“Our members in the rail industry are entering the third or fourth year of a wage freeze,” said TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortés.
“Meanwhile, food and fuel bills are skyrocketing, and the Conservative cost of living crisis is impoverishing workers. Enough is enough, this cannot go on.”
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“For many of our members, this is the first time they have taken industrial action; it is a last resort and not something any rail worker takes lightly.”
He added that rail workers “put their lives at risk” during the COVID pandemic, but now the government is standing in the way of negotiations, preventing employers from “making a reasonable offer” to those same employees.
“Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps and the Department of Transportation must make a reasonable offer on pay and job security, either by coming to the table themselves or allowing employers to negotiate freely,” he said.
“We will not back down until our members have obtained the pay, conditions and job security they deserve.”
What does the secretary of transportation think?
Shapps described the industrial action as an example of unions “bent on causing as much misery as possible” for taxpayers, who “threw in £600 per household to ensure not a single rail worker lost their job during the pandemic”. .
He tweeted: “It cannot be right that the country is being hijacked by union bosses seeking to protect outdated labor practices that have no place in the 21st century.”
It comes as the Daily Mail reported details of Mr Shapp’s 16-point plan to tackle the strikes, with the paper saying such a plan could include ending the government’s ban on using emergency powers to stop strikes if they could create a “national emergency”. .
Many have reacted negatively to the strike announcement, with Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines saying he was “sad” to see further disruptions to the rail network.
Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group, also responded, saying the action imposes “even more uncertainty on passengers and businesses.”