Train and Tube strikes: London Underground already emptying out

·38-min read
Train and Tube strikes: London Underground already emptying out

London Tube started emptying out by 7pm on Monday ahead of the strike that starts at midnight on Tuesday.

The rail strikes were given the green light to go ahead after last ditch talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMT union said.

A series of strikes at Network Rail and 13 train operators will go ahead on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday amid an ongoing dispute over pay and pensions.

RMT and Unite workers will also stage a walk-out on the London Underground on Tuesday.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, said unions were not looking to compromise and warned travellers that industrial action could stretch on for months.

The RMT general secretary said the union had rejected below inflation pay rises Network Rail.

A temporary timetable is being introduced with several rail operators winding down services this evening.

Key Points

More rail strikes could be called in next couple of months warns RMT

Monday 20 June 2022 21:02 , John Dunne

The UK could see a string of rail strikes over the next couple of months if a deal is not reached, the general secretary of the RMT union has said.

Mick Lynch said: “Our campaign will run as long as it needs to run until we get a settlement acceptable to our people.

“Whenever we get an offer that is tenable we will put that to our members in a referendum.”

Asked if the strikes could last for months if a deal is not reached Mr Lynch replied: “I think it will, yes.”

Monday 20 June 2022 20:09 , Lily Waddell

London Underground begins to quieten down ahead of strikes

The Tube is already beginning to empty out ahead of 24-hour strike that starts at midnight, Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall reports.

A photograph taken on the Victoria Line showed the Tube carriage almost empty at 7pm, just hours before the strike begins.

Unions and recruiters criticise government plans to allow agency workers to replace strikers

Monday 20 June 2022 18:55 , John Dunne

Government plans to allow agency workers to replace strikers have been slammed by the recruitment industry and trade unions.

The TUC and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) issued a strongly worded joint statement calling on the government to abandon its “unworkable” plan.

They opposed it in the “strongest possible terms”, adding: “Using agency staff to cover strikes will only prolong the conflict between employers and their staff. Strikes are industrial disputes within a single industry or firm.

“Government needs to step up and do the work around resolving industrial disputes rather than inserting a third party in the form of agency workers into a dispute. That does nothing to solve the underlying issues between the company and their staff.”

Shadow transport secretary says strikes represent ‘catastrophic failure of leadership’ in government

Monday 20 June 2022 18:38 , John Dunne

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “Should these strikes go ahead tomorrow they will represent a catastrophic failure of leadership.

“Ministers owe it to all those impacted by this serious disruption to get around the table for last ditch talks, to sort it out and avert this disruption.”

She added: “Not only has he been boycotting the talks, he’s tied the hands of those at the table. He and his department failed to give the train operating companies, a party to these talks, any mandate to negotiate whatsoever… These talks are a sham because ministers have set them up to fail.”

She added: “There is still time for the Secretary of State to do the right thing, the brave thing and show responsibility.

“Patients, school children, low-paid workers, the entire country needs a resolution and they will not forgive this Government if they do not step in and resolve it.

“Even now at this late hour, I urge him – get around the table and do your job.”

Shapps: No deal with rail unions unless they accept modernisation plans

Monday 20 June 2022 16:56 , John Dunne

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there can be “no deal” without accepting the need to modernise the railways, while accusing union leaders and the Opposition of seeming to focus on “widening the division, rather than bridging the gap”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Shapps said: “The rhetoric we have seen from union leaders, and the Opposition benches over the weekend seems to be focused on widening the division, rather than bridging the gap.”

He said rail reform “is to unite and modernise the industry”, warning against “clinging to obsolete working practices”, giving as an example how on “most of the railway… Sunday working is voluntary”.

Rail Union leaders call for Government to ‘come clean’ over ticket office closures

Monday 20 June 2022 16:51 , John Dunne

Union leaders are calling for urgent talks with the Government over the future of rail ticket offices.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps should “come clean” about any closure plans.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said in a letter to the minister: “Closing ticket offices and moving to online-only sales would badly impact millions of elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people who are unable, or far less able, to use online services, yet still need to access public transport.

“These proposed closures are in no-one’s interest and make a mockery of your so called Great British Railways reforms.

“With trust at rock bottom between rail workers and bosses, what you are doing, in effect, is further entrenching our dispute with you which is not only about jobs, pay and conditions but the future wellbeing of our rail network...”

Shapps says Government doing all that it can to minimise rail strike disruption

Monday 20 June 2022 16:40 , John Dunne

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government is doing everything it can to minimise disruption during the rail strikes.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Shapps said: “We are doing everything we can, despite these strikes, to minimise the disruption throughout the entire network.

“We are working with the civil contingencies secretariat, the Government’s emergency planning team, to keep critical supply chains open wherever possible.

“Operators will keep as many passenger trains as possible running, though of course with much disruption to the timetable that is going to be very difficult on strike days.

“And it’s estimated that around 20% of planned services will operate, focused on key workers, main population centres and critical freight routes.

“But there will be mass disruption and we advise passengers to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary, which of course for many it will be.”

Network Rail urges public to ‘only travel by train if necessary’

Monday 20 June 2022 16:20 , Sami Quadri

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “No strike is inevitable until the moment it begins, but sadly disruption tomorrow is guaranteed so we’re asking passengers to plan ahead and only travel by train if necessary.

“We continue to talk to the RMT and urge them to work with us to find a solution that works for rail workers and taxpayers, and avoids causing further disruption for our passengers.”

Downing Street ‘deeply disappointed’

Monday 20 June 2022 16:19 , Sami Quadri

Downing Street said it was “deeply disappointing” that the strikes are going ahead, arguing that they will not resolve the issues faced on the railways.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is deeply disappointing, that these disruptive, these self-defeating strikes will take place this week.

“Striking does nothing to address the long-standing issues that we need to sort to make sure our railway, that the public use and treasure, is fit for the long term.”

The UK could see a series of strikes over the next couple months

Monday 20 June 2022 16:11 , Sami Quadri

The UK could see a series of rail strikes over the next couple of months if a deal is not reached, the general secretary of the RMT union has said.

Mick Lynch said: “Our campaign will run as long as it needs to run until we get a settlement acceptable to our people.

“Whenever we get an offer that is tenable we will put that to our members in a referendum.”

Asked if the strikes could last for months if a deal is not reached Mr Lynch replied: “I think it will, yes.”

National Highways warn roads will be ‘very busy’

Monday 20 June 2022 16:03 , Sami Quadri

National Highways said motorways and trunk roads were likely to be busy from Wednesday to Friday as people travel to the festival and again from Monday June 27 as they leave.

John Ingram, emergency planner for the south west of England, said: “We’re reminding road users to plan ahead for Glastonbury – around 200,000 people are expected to attend this year’s festival and roads leading to the event are likely to be very busy.

“Our aim is to keep the National Highways network running while keeping festival goers and other road users safe and informed.”

Unions warn against lifting agency worker ban

Monday 20 June 2022 15:57 , Sami Quadri

The TUC and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) called on the Government to abandon its “unworkable” plan to lift the ban on agency workers filling in during strikes.

A joint statement from the TUC and REC said the plan was “unworkable” and they opposed it in the “strongest possible terms.“

The statement said: “Using agency staff to cover strikes will only prolong the conflict between employers and their staff. Strikes are industrial disputes within a single industry or firm.

“Government needs to step up and do the work around resolving industrial disputes rather than inserting a third party in the form of agency workers into a dispute. That does nothing to solve the underlying issues between the company and their staff.

“This will only prolong the dispute and inflame tensions. Negotiations should be the obvious priority, rather than potentially putting the safety of agency workers and company employees at risk

“The proposal is not practical. There are currently 1.3 million vacancies in the UK, a record high.

“REC data shows that the number of candidates available to fill roles has been falling at record pace for months.

“In this tight labour market, agency workers are in high demand and can pick and choose the jobs they take.

“Agency staff are very unlikely to choose a role that requires them to cross a picket line versus one that doesn’t.

“Additionally, many roles that may be on strike require technical skills or training. Training agency workers to do these jobs would be expensive and time-consuming.

“Only recently Government ministers came out to condemn what P&O Ferries did. Surely that example cannot have been forgotten so soon?”

Pictured: RMT general secretary Mick Lynch outside offices in London

Monday 20 June 2022 15:50 , Sami Quadri

Mick  Lynch outside the RMT offices in London (Rachael Burford)
Mick Lynch outside the RMT offices in London (Rachael Burford)

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the union had rejected below inflation pay rises from Network Rail.

The industrial action, which starts at midnight, will be the largest transport strikes in more than 30 years with half of Britain’s train lines shut down.

Staff at Network Rail and 13 other train companies will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

It coincides with the fourth network-wide strike this year on the London Underground, which is expected to grind the capital to a halt.

At a press conference outside the RMT offices in London today, Mr Lynch said: “As a result of this transport austerity, the employing companies have taken the following decisions to attack the railway pension scheme and the Transport for London scheme. Diluting benefits making staff work longer, up to 65 years of age and making them poor in retirement while paying increased contributions.”

RMT confirm strike will go ahead

Monday 20 June 2022 15:34 , Sami Quadri

The RMT confirmed strike action will go ahead after accusing the Government of having “actively prevented a settlement to this dispute”.

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.

“It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4bn of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.

“The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.

“At the behest of the Government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.”

Mr Lynch added: “Faced with such an aggressive agenda of cuts to jobs, conditions, pay and pensions, RMT has no choice but to defend our members industrially to stop this race to the bottom.

“The strikes on Network Rail, the train operators and London Underground will go ahead, and we again call on our members to stand firm, support the action, mount the pickets and demonstrate their willingness to fight for workplace justice.

“The RMT supports the campaign for a square deal for all working people in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, and our current campaign is a part of that more general campaign which means that public services have to be properly funded and all workers properly paid with good conditions.”

Pupils told to have ‘plan B’ for getting to school for exams amid rail strikes

Monday 20 June 2022 15:27 , Sami Quadri

Pupils and parents have been warned to have a “plan B” for getting to school for their exams during the rail strikes.

The major industrial action, which will see tens of thousands of rail workers walking out for most of this week, will clash with some A-level and GCSE exams set for Tuesday and Thursday.

The Department for Education has said exams are not expected to be rescheduled.

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JQC) – an association for major exam boards in the UK – said some contingency measures are in place for late arrivals.

Pepe Diiasio, head of Wales High School in Rotherham said people should have a “plan B in their back pocket” to get to school.

Mr Diiasio said only a “limited number” of pupils are likely to be affected by the strikes overall but that it will be “serious” for those who are.

“If you’ve got exams this week, just have a plan A and plan B in your back pocket because … it’s been a difficult year already for people taking exams,” he said.

“The last thing they want to worry about now is whether or not they’re actually going to arrive on time.”

Government to make it legal for employers to hire agency staff to fill in for striking workers

Monday 20 June 2022 15:26 , Sami Quadri

The government is making it legal for employers to hire agency staff to fill in for workers on strike.

This will be done through secondary legislation which will be laid in Parliament later this week and is expected to come in to effect in mid-July.

The measure will repeal regulation from 1973 which makes it illegal for employers to use agency staff specifically during industrial disputes to do the work of strikers. There will be a vote in Parliament.

Any employer - public sector as well as private, from schools to councils to the NHS - will have the “flexibility” to bring in outside staff.

Rail strikes to go ahead

Monday 20 June 2022 15:20 , Sami Quadri

The rail strikes are to go ahead after last ditch talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMT union said.

Grant Shapps says problem is ‘between the union and the employers'

Monday 20 June 2022 15:08 , Elly Blake

Grant Shapps denied that he is “the problem” in relation to rail strikes.

The transport secretary told Sky News: “The actual unions need to sit down with the employers because this is a highly technical discussion around 20 different areas of modernisation that are required on the railway, to make sure the railways can continue to function.

“We’ve given £16 billion of taxpayers’ money through coronavirus to make sure that none of those railway employees lost their jobs.

“So they need to work on this together between the union and the employers.”

Rail strikes to cause ‘total misery’ - Transport Secretary

Monday 20 June 2022 15:07 , Elly Blake

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said strikes are going to cause “total misery” for millions of people across the UK.

He also criticised Labour for refusing to condemn the industrial action.

He told Sky News: “It’s quite clear that Labour can’t bring themselves to condemn these strikes which are going to cause total misery tomorrow and throughout the week with people not able to get to work, to hospital appointments, to GCSE and A-level exams.”

Business minister asks Sadiq Khan to waive driving charges

Monday 20 June 2022 15:00 , Elly Blake

Business minister Paul Scully has called on rail unions to “talk, not strike”.

He is also urging Sadiq Khan to waive the congestion charge and ULEZ for drivers on days which strikes are planned, in a bid to “keep London open and moving”.

In a tweet, he said: “The rail unions need to talk, not strike. But we will continue to prepare.

“I’m asking the @MayorofLondon to do his bit to keep London open and moving by waiving the Congestion Charge & ULEZ and pausing non-essential roadworks on rail strike days - simple moves that will go far.

RMT union to give statement at 3.30pm

Monday 20 June 2022 14:36 , Elly Blake

The RMT union is due to give a statement on the national rail dispute at 3.30pm.

We will be bringing you live updates as they happen.

‘This strike is particularly frustrating’, says TfL

Monday 20 June 2022 14:18 , Elly Blake

A Transport for London (TfL) boss has blasted Tuesday’s strike action as “particularly frustrating”.

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, urged union bosses to call off the strike that will impact thousands of commuters using the London Underground.

His statement in full

“I want to apologise to our customers for the impact these strikes will have on their journeys and urge people to avoid travel on all TfL services on 21 June unless absolutely necessary. If they are travelling, they must complete journeys by 18:00, and expect disruption across the network. Walking and cycling is likely to be the best way to get around during this action.

Tube strike (PA Wire)
Tube strike (PA Wire)

“The strike on the London Underground has been timed by the RMT and Unite unions to cause maximum disruption to our millions of customers by coinciding with strike action on national rail services.

“Additional strikes on national rail services next week will also have an impact on London Underground, Overground and Elizabeth line services because of shared track and assets.

“TfL customers are therefore advised to plan ahead and leave more time for their journeys next week.

"This strike is particularly frustrating as it comes so soon after industrial action earlier this month, no changes have been proposed to pensions and nobody has or will lose their job as a result of the proposals we have set out.

“We’re urging the RMT and Unite to call off this strike – my message to them is that it’s not too late to work with us to find a resolution and avoid the huge disruption this action will cause."

Key rail strike questions answered

Monday 20 June 2022 13:52 , Sami Quadri

Who is going on strike?

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators.

When are the strikes?

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

How bad will the disruption be?

Fewer than one in five trains will run, and only on main lines for around 11 hours.

Will there be strikes on the London Underground?

Yes. Members of the RMT and Unite will strike on Tuesday.

Are other unions involved in the dispute?

Yes. The Transport Salaried Staffs Association and the drivers union Aslef are also taking industrial action or balloting for strikes.

What are the strikes about?

Railway chiefs want to cut costs as fewer passengers have been travelling by train since the pandemic.

Many of these so-called ‘efficiency savings’ revolve around the use of new technology, such as drones to check on railway tracks rather than having workers walk along lines.

Unions argue that they face job cuts, changes to their working conditions and pay rises below the rate of inflation following years of wage freezes.

Why hasn’t the Government been involved in the negotiations?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it is up to the unions and employers to negotiate pay and conditions, but Labour and the unions believe he should be taking part in the talks.

Grant Shapps to make statement on rail strike

Monday 20 June 2022 13:41 , Sami Quadri

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to make a statement on the industrial action in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Shadow Transport Secretary says it is ‘still possible’ for Grant Shapps to stop strikes

Monday 20 June 2022 13:35 , Sami Quadri

Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh has urged Grant Shapps to “step in” and “convene urgent talks” between the unions and rail chiefs to stop the strikes from going ahead.

Speaking to Sky News, she said: “We don’t want these strikes to go ahead…they’re going to be enormously disruptive. Even at this eleventh hour, it is still possible for Grant Shapps to step in, intervene, convene urgent talks between the industry and the unions and stop these strikes going ahead.

“A resolution must be found with the unions and the industry and it can be prevented from going ahead.”

Drivers warned to expect ‘big increase in traffic’ during rail strikes

Monday 20 June 2022 13:21 , Sami Quadri

Motorists are being warned to expect a surge in traffic as train passengers switch to road transport during the rail strikes.

The AA predicted that the worst affected roads are likely to be main motorway arteries, as well as rural and suburban areas.

Drivers in Scotland and Wales are expected to face long queues as most railway lines there will be closed during the industrial action on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The M74, M8 and A9 in Scotland and the M4, A55, A5, and A483 in Wales could see severe traffic, according to the AA.

An AA route planner spokesman said: “Even though the strike is for three days, many travellers will give up on the trains for the whole week.

“It coincides with big events like Glastonbury and the Goodwood Festival of Speed, so drivers not going to those locations are advised to give the areas a wide berth.

“Generally we predict a big increase in traffic in Scotland, Wales and major routes across the UK.

“The impact will be slightly cushioned by record fuel prices deterring some and more commuters deciding to work from home but congestion will still be a problem.”

Commuting will be ‘extremely difficult’, Downing Street warns

Monday 20 June 2022 13:14 , Sami Quadri

Downing Street has warned it will be “extremely difficult” commuting during the rail strikes.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “For those that have no choice but to come in it will be extremely difficult tomorrow and I think the public will understandably want to know why they are being put in this position.

“We believe we are seeking to offer a fair and reasonable pay rise and modernise the railway services for the long term, and we need to get rid of some of these outdated rules and procedures, some of which have not been updated for decades and which don’t serve the public.”

Labour MP accuses Government of trying to ‘divide workers and public’

Monday 20 June 2022 13:12 , Sami Quadri

Rail strikes are ‘not about salaries’, says RMT

Monday 20 June 2022 13:10 , Sami Quadri

Rail strikes a ‘blow’ say struggling retailers

Monday 20 June 2022 13:05 , Sami Quadri

Retailers say the rail strikes are a “blow” as they struggle with rising costs and staff shortages ahead of the first restriction-free summer since 2019.

Footfall is expected to drop by 9.3 per cent across all retail destinations next week, but high streets will see 10% fewer shoppers and shopping centres will receive 13 per cent fewer visitors, according to analysts Springboard.

Diane Wehrle, director of insights at Springboard, said: “The planned rail strikes are likely to encourage those who can hybrid work to work from home, and therefore footfall in towns and cities is likely to decrease – on the particular strike days but also on non-strike days, due to delays that are likely to be caused on non-strike days due to trains being in the wrong place.

“The latest evidence, from the day of the tube strike, indicates that footfall declined in central London whilst rising marginally in outer London.

“An increase in activity in outer-London centres has been synonymous with homeworking as people are able to frequent their local high streets more easily.”

Government will not take part in strike discussions

Monday 20 June 2022 13:02 , Sami Quadri

Downing Street has said the Government will not take part in Monday’s talks aimed at averting the rail strikes.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Talks are continuing today but the Government won’t be taking part in them.

“You’ve heard from train operators themselves who have said that it isn’t the Government’s place to be at the table and it wouldn’t be helpful to the ongoing discussions to insert the Government into the negotiating process at this stage.”

Criminal barristers vote to go on strike

Monday 20 June 2022 12:01 , Sami Quadri

Barristers have voted to go on strike from next week in the ongoing row with the government over Legal Aid funding.

More than 80 per cent of voters in a Criminal Bar Association (CBA) poll supported ‘days of action’, beginning from next Monday and Tuesday together with refusing instructions on new cases.

Criminal barristers have already adopted a ‘no returns’ policy in the rumbling dispute over the future of Legal Aid funding, and have now supported a dramatic escalation of the industrial action.

Without resolution, barristers also plan to walk out on July 4-6, July 11-14, and for the entire week starting on Monday 18 July. From August, walkouts will continune on alternate weeks “with no end date”, say the CBA.

You can read more here Criminal barristers vote to go on strike over legal aid funding | Evening Standard

Minister calls for reforms to ‘outdated’ railway practices

Monday 20 June 2022 11:29 , Sami Quadri

Chief Treasury secretary Simon Clarke called for reforms of the country’s “seriously outdated” railway practices.

He said: “We need to see reform of some of the practices that make our railway a very unsustainable entity at the moment.

“It cannot be the case that we have put in £16 billion during the pandemic as taxpayers, worth £600 per household, and still have a railway system where some of what goes on occurs and where, frankly, fares are higher than they need to be and efficiency is lower than it should be because of the way the trade unions operate.”

More than half of Glastonbury trains axed due to rail strikes

Monday 20 June 2022 10:26 , Sami Quadri

More than half of the trains due to serve the Glastonbury Festival have been cancelled because of rail strikes.

Tens of thousands of revellers will be forced to find alternative routes to the site in Pilton, Somerset.

Great Western Railway (GWR) is operating just five services from London Paddington to Castle Cary on Thursday, with a total of 24 between Wednesday and Friday.

Before the industrial action was announced, 51 trains were expected to run on the route over the three-day period.

GWR told passengers: “We plan to maintain timetabled trains between Castle Cary and London Paddington throughout the course of the Glastonbury Festival.

“Some services might be subject to alterations to train times and we will be in contact with customers who have already booked seats on board those trains.”

It added: “Other parts of the GWR network are likely to be more affected by the strike action and customers may need to consider alternative ways to travel to a station serving Castle Cary.”

Roads serving the Glastonbury Festival will be exceptionally busy, with motoring groups advising drivers to avoid the region if possible.

Pictured: Passengers wait to board a train at Hunts Cross Station in Liverpool

Monday 20 June 2022 10:15 , Sami Quadri

MerseyRail has announced all trains will stop tomorrow due to industrial action (PA)
MerseyRail has announced all trains will stop tomorrow due to industrial action (PA)

Graphic: Lines likely to remain open during rail strike

Monday 20 June 2022 09:52 , Sami Quadri

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Minister says public sector pay will not rise in line with inflation to avoid ‘repeat of 1970s’

Monday 20 June 2022 09:36 , Sami Quadri

The chief secretary to the Treasury said public sector workers’ pay will not rise in line with inflation in order to prevent “a repeat of the 1970s”.

Simon Clarke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In the current landscape of inflation at 9% bordering 10%, it is not a sustainable expectation that inflation can be matched in payoff.

“That’s not something that’s going to be seen across, frankly, the private sector as well as the public sector.

“We cannot get into a world where we are chasing inflation expectations in that way because that is the surest way I can think of to bake in a repeat of the 1970s, which this Government is determined to prevent.”

Mr Clarke was asked about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman’s assertion earlier this year that Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s plea for wage restraint was not the Government’s position.

He replied: “What a spokesperson has said is for them. I’m clear that the reality is that we are trying to manage the inflation difficulties that this economy and indeed the wider West is facing.”

Sadiq Khan warns Londoners to expect further Tube strikes

Monday 20 June 2022 09:23 , Sami Quadri

Londoners should brace themselves for further Tube strikes in addition to Tuesday’s 24-hour walkout, Sadiq Khan has warned.

Asked what he was doing to end the strikes, Mr Khan told the Evening Standard: “I can’t hand on heart say it will be the last one.”

Mr Khan said the strikes – which have been called in response to the axing of up to 600 station posts and feared changes to the TfL pension scheme – were the result of the Government “micro-managing” TfL.

You can read more here Tube strike: Sadiq Khan warns Londoners to expect further walkouts on network | Evening Standard

Network Rail boss reveals he has spoken to the PM about the rail strikes

Monday 20 June 2022 09:10 , Sami Quadri

Network Rail boss Sir Peter Hendy has revealed he has spoken with Boris Johnson about the rail strikes.

Sir Peter, who used to run Transport for London, backed the Government’s stance that reforms are needed given that the number of people using the rail system had fallen after the Covid pandemic, with more people working from home.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union chiefs have been calling for Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to get involved with talks to resolve the dispute.

But the Government has insisted that the row is between unions and rail firms.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter was asked on LBC Radio by presenter Nick Ferrari whether he had spoken to Mr Johnson about the planned walk-outs, responding: “I’ve been in touch with him once or twice about this.

“He’s as concerned as you would be and everybody listening that the railways continue to run.”

Sir Peter also stressed that the row was significantly about how much taxpayer’s money is going into the rail network, with an “enormous amount”, billions of pounds, having been ploughed in to keep the industry going during the pandemic.

You can read more here - Rail boss says he spoke to PM about rail strikes - as ministers refuse to meet unions | Evening Standard

Minister says Government involvement in rail talks would ‘confuse things’

Monday 20 June 2022 08:51 , Sami Quadri

Treasury chief secretary Simon Clarke said the Government’s involvement in talks over the rail dispute would “confuse things” as he called for industry reforms.

Asked if the Government should be part of the talks because of its role in setting the negotiating mandate, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Ultimately, it will only confuse things if we add a third party to these negotiations.

“The train operating companies and Network Rail are working to deliver a sensible programme of reform and a sensible and fair pay deal with the trade unions.”

He added: “The practices that are in place across the network are out with the ark, frankly, and need to be reformed.

“It cannot be the case that we have put in £16 billion during the pandemic as taxpayers, worth £600 per household, and still have a railway system where some of what goes on occurs and where, frankly, fares are higher than they need to be and efficiency is lower than it should be because of the way the trade unions operate.”

Government accused of ‘hobbling’ talks between unions and rail operators

Monday 20 June 2022 08:33 , Sami Quadri

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said the Government is “hobbling” talks between unions and rail operators.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Haigh said the Government has not set a negotiating mandate.

“At the moment, without the Government there the negotiations are a sham,” she said.

“It’s not possible for them to find a resolution and avoid the dispute without the Government being represented at the talks, setting a mandate for the train operators and providing genuine scope in order to find a resolution.

“Without them there, it’s impossible for them to find a way forward and, therefore, it is inevitable that industrial action will happen.”

Challenged that the Government is not a party in the negotiations, Ms Haigh said: “The Department of Transport are a party because they set the negotiating mandate for the train operating companies and they have so far refused to do that, so not only are they boycotting the talks, they’re actually hobbling them and therefore that’s why it is imperative that they step in.”

Teachers threaten strikes unless they receive inflation-busting pay rise

Monday 20 June 2022 08:31 , Sami Quadri

Teachers are threatening strike action unless they receive an inflation-busting pay rise of at least 9 per cent.

Two key education unions have announced they will consider balloting members over industrial action unless significant salary increases are offered.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said on Monday that teachers were asking for a pay increase at least in line with inflation, currently at 9 per cent, because its members had suffered a drop in their wages “by about a fifth since 2010”.

You can read more on this story here - Teacher unions demand inflation-busting pay rise | Evening Standard

Business Minister Paul Scully says rail workers get paid 'more than most other sectors’

Monday 20 June 2022 08:29 , Sami Quadri

Business Minister Paul Scully said rail workers get paid “more than most other sectors” as he urged union chiefs to “intensify” talks rather than strike action.

Business minister Mr Scully told BBC Radio’s Westminster Hour that RMT boss Mick Lynch should instead be “intensifying negotiations with employers to see how much closer they can get to a negotiated settlement.”

Mr Scully said he could “understand the demand and expectation and hope for pay rises because clearly people up and down the country in other sectors as well are being affected by the rise in the cost of living and the rise of inflation.”

He added: “The fact is that rail workers get paid more than most other sectors, so I would say, let’s not talk about extending this strike for political reasons, for whatever reasons, get round the table because that’s what’s going to protect rail workers.”

Which train lines are affected by the strikes?

Monday 20 June 2022 08:23 , Sami Quadri

Thirteen train operators will be directly impacted by the strikes, while some routes operated by other companies will also be disrupted. Those directly impacted include:

  • Avanti West Coast

  • c2c

  • Chiltern Railways

  • CrossCountry

  • East Midlands Railway

  • Great Western Railway (GWR)

  • Greater Anglia

  • London North Eastern Railway (LNER)

  • Northern Trains

  • South Eastern Railway

  • South Western Railway

  • TransPennine Express

  • West Midlands Trains

Half of public think it is the wrong time to strike

Monday 20 June 2022 08:21 , Sami Quadri

Around 50 per cent of the British public believe it is not the right time to strike, according to a poll.

The survey, commissioned by industry body the Rail Delivery Group, showed that one in four supported the strike and two out of five were against.

Half of those questioned said now was not the right time to strike, while 24 per cent said it was an appropriate time to take action and 27 per cent said they did not know.

Some 57 per cent of people said they thought the RMT’s pay demand was “unaffordable” while 17 per cent thought it was affordable.

Almost half of those questioned supported a reduction in Government subsidies for the network.

Network Rail ‘committed’ to finding a solution

Monday 20 June 2022 08:06 , Sami Quadri

Tim Shoveller, managing director of Network Rail’s north west and central region, said the company is “absolutely committed” to finding a solution to the pay dispute with workers.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “We are absolutely committed to trying to find a way through this.

“As always, this is about how we can make the railway more efficient to generate the funds so that we can make the pay awards that our colleagues want.”

Asked if Network Rail is willing to see the dispute run throughout the summer, he said: “I think it would be a disaster for the country. It would be a disaster for our passengers and, look, really bad for our employees, who would lose loads of money by having a long, drawn-out strike – that really is the worst place we can get to.

“At the end of the day, the facts about the support the Government’s provided in terms of the £16 billion through Covid, etc – all of those are well-known and documented.

“It’s a tragedy that the union have brought the strike action around so quickly because one day there will be a resolution to this, it will only come through talking and the fact is that the strike action really doesn’t help that, in fact, it only makes it so much worse.”

Minister apologises for rail strike ‘misery’

Monday 20 June 2022 08:03 , Sami Quadri

Chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke has apologised for the “misery” the rail strike will cause and denied that the Government is actively looking for a fight with unions.

“We absolutely don’t want them to go ahead, I recognise this is going to cause misery for millions of people and I am profoundly sorry about that,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“No-one is suggesting there’s some kind of pay freeze required here, we all want to see a sensible pay increase.

“Linked to that we need to see reform of some of the practices that make our railway a very unsustainable entity at the moment.”

He called for a “sustainable” rail industry, saying the way the network operates is “not fit for the 2020s”.

RMT’s requests are ‘completely reasonable’, says John McDonnell

Monday 20 June 2022 07:57 , Sami Quadri

Minister rules out double-digit pay settlement for public sector workers

Monday 20 June 2022 07:53 , Sami Quadri

The chief secretary to the Treasury has effectively ruled out a double-digit pay settlement for public sector workers in line with inflation.

Asked about demands for pay increases in the context of the looming rail strike, Simon Clarke told Kay Burley on Sky News: “Public-sector pay discipline really matters here.

“We have an inflation problem in this country … if we don’t want that problem to either intensify or prolong itself, then we need to be sensible around pay awards.

“If we give awards which are above inflation in this landscape, then we are in a really difficult place in terms of bringing down inflation, which in turn obviously is driving the cost of living.”

Government are ‘abjectly failing in their responsibilities’

Monday 20 June 2022 07:49 , Sami Quadri

John Leach, RMT assistant general secretary, said the union would like more support from the Labour Party and that the Government are “abjectly failing” in their responsibilities.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Leach said: “We want political support wherever it can come from and the Labour Party really should refocus here on its responsibility to represent those in society that are looking for a better situation.

“That’s us on this occasion, so we would like more.

“But we’d also like the Government to rise to the occasion.

“They are absolutely abjectly failing in their responsibilities. They are nowhere to be seen apart from name-calling from the sidelines.

“They need to do the right thing for the railway people of Britain.”

Not up to Government to resolve dispute, says Simon Clarke

Monday 20 June 2022 07:47 , Sami Quadri

Treasury chief secretary Simon Clarke has said it is likely the rail strike will go ahead and that it is not up to the Government to resolve the dispute.

He told Kay Burley on Sky News that people should prepare for travel chaos as “I fear it is likely they will go ahead”.

He said: “Ultimately this is a matter between the employers, the train operating companies and Network Rail, and the trade unions and the Government doesn’t sit directly as a part of those talks for a very good reason – that we don’t intervene in a specific process between an employer and the unions representing employees, but we are there to provide the support and enabling framework for those talks to succeed.

“We don’t control all the levers that need to be held here.”

Workers are ‘determined’ to get ‘justice for themselves’, says RMT

Monday 20 June 2022 07:46 , Sami Quadri

John Leach, assistant general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), said workers are “determined” to get “justice for themselves”.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether transport workers will stick with the negotiations if it becomes a “war of attrition”, Mr Leach said the workers in his union have “grit and determination”.

He said: “The men and women in my union who keep Britain moving across the entire railway network are some of the most determined, professional, dedicated people you’ll ever meet.

“They kept this country moving through the pandemic, they keep the railways moving every single day and it’s that kind of grit and determination that’s going to mean that they will stick with this negotiation and justice for themselves in that regard, right through to the end.

“That’s why we’re so clear about this. We didn’t want to be in this situation – that has to be said – but we are determined to see this through.”

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