Rail and Tube passengers face days of strike misery

A series of rail and Tube strikes will disrupt the journeys of millions of passengers across the country this week.

Members of the RMT union at Southern, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia will walk out for 24 hours on Tuesday and Thursday in disputes over staffing and driver-only trains.

Greater Anglia said it is planning to run a full service on the strike days and Southern said there will be a normal service on most of its routes.

Arriva Rail North aims to run around 1,200 services - 46% of its normal timetable, on both days between 7am and 7pm.

Merseyrail said most services will run between 7am and 7pm, with a break during the middle of the day, and some stations will be closed.

Meanwhile, members of the drivers' union Aslef on London Underground are set to strike on Thursday in a row over working conditions, although talks between the two sides continue on Monday.

Transport for London has warned of substantial disruption to services.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "These strikes are about putting the safety and security of the travelling public before the profits of private companies, profits that in the most part are shipped overseas to subsidise transport services in Europe and China. That is a national scandal.

"It is disgraceful that we have been unable to get serious and meaningful talks going in any of these disputes and that points clearly to the dead-hand of the Government driving the faceless railway policy on purely ideological grounds and demanding that their contractors fall in line."

Rail minister Paul Maynard said: "The RMT should stop using passengers as pawns in their political game, call off this strike action and return to talks.

"This dispute is not about jobs as all the companies have guaranteed posts and I have been clear I want to see more people working on the railways, not fewer.

"It's not about safety either as the independent regulator has ruled that driver-controlled trains are safe."

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