Rail chaos for Ashes fans TODAY as RMT launches fresh set of strikes

Rail chaos for Ashes fans TODAY as Mick Lynch’s RMT launches fresh strike in bid to cripple Britain amid long-running pay dispute

  • Read more: Train drivers threaten more chaos as Aslef reveal fresh overtime ban

Passengers were plunged into fresh misery on Saturday as thousands of rail workers walked out in a long-running dispute over pay. 

Only half the number of trains were running in certain areas, bringing large swathes of the UK’s rail network to a halt. 

Cricket fans travelling to the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval faced delays, while Britons heading on their summer getaways were also told to expect disruption.

One fan said The Oval was ‘about half full as a consequence’ of the strikes, while UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls warned that trade ‘falls off a cliff’ in town and city centres.

Widespread disruption is expected to continue throughout the weekend, with some lines still affected until Sunday morning.

Empty train platforms today at King’s Cross station during the strike action by the RMT union

Militant RMT union boss Mick Lynch at the picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station on Saturday

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on a picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station

The strikes come as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, including station staff and train managers, walk out in a row over pay, jobs and conditions.

Cricket fans heading up to The Oval cricket ground in Kennington, London, will be hoping for a fantastic day of cricket. 

However, with the train strikes hitting the UK one fan shared on social media: ‘Another day, another “now then, this is the crucial day of the Test”. Who’ll be the first to strike this morning? The answer is: the train drivers. The Oval is about half full as a consequence.’

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said the strike will disrupt the plans of families during the summer holidays.

READ MORE: Full list of strikes planned for August 2023 including train strikes, doctor walkouts and flight disruptions

They said: ‘This will lead to disappointment, frustration and financial strain for tens of thousands of people. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and understand the impact on individuals and businesses.

‘Our advice is to check before you travel.’

People across social media have shared their frustration as the train strikes impact their weekend plans. 

One person said: ‘Another train strike tomorrow, I’ll simply work from home. The woman who cleans my office won’t be able to get in, so she will lose a day’s pay.

‘This is who Mick Grinch and his members are hurting, working class families.’

A third also explained how it was cheaper to book a flight to visit his daughter at university instead of booking a train due to the travel chaos going on at the moment. 

Picket lines will be mounted outside railway stations across England and workers said they were receiving strong support for their action from the public.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said striking rail workers are still waiting for an invitation back to the negotiating table.

Members of drivers’ union Aslef will stop working overtime next month in a separate dispute over pay.

England’s Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley before the start of play on day three

A reduced, revised timetable is operating across several train operators, including GWR today

Ascot Railway Station was closed today due to Industrial Action by South Western Railway staff

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch joins the picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station

Taxis wait outside Reading station on another day of national strike action

Train passengers are set to be hit with rail chaos today as thousands of workers join the RMT ‘s fresh strike action [File image]

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, including station staff and train managers, are walking out in a row over pay, jobs and conditions [File image]

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘The Government has met the rail unions, listened to them and facilitated improved offers on pay and reform.

‘The union leaders should put these fair and reasonable offers to their members so this dispute can be resolved.’

Lynch has also said that the decision to close ticket offices will only save about £89 million – a ‘tiny fraction’ of the £1 billion he claims has been spent by the Government to ‘artificially keep the dispute going and prevent a settlement’.

What rail operators are affected? 

  • Avanti West Coast
  • C2C
  • Caledonian Sleeper
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Gatwick Express
  • Great Northern 
  • Great Western Railway
  • Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express)
  • Heathrow Express
  • LNER
  • London Northwestern Railway
  • Northern
  • Southeastern
  • Southern, South Western Railway (including Island Line)
  • Thameslink
  • TransPennine Express 
  • West Midlands Railway

He said: ‘The public is being ripped off not only to financially underwrite this dispute that could have been settled 18 months ago, but also to fund the closure of ticket offices which they rely on.

‘Closing 1,000 ticket offices will only save a small fraction of the money spent on rail company indemnity, to prolong the strike and the handsome profits they have made.

‘Ticket office closures are not popular with the public and we have seen mass opposition across the country.

‘Not only are ticket office closures being used as a fig leaf for the wholesale de-staffing of stations, but this is the thin end of the wedge for getting rid of staff across the railway network, something our union will oppose vigorously.

‘The elderly, vulnerable and disabled will no longer want to and in some cases be unable to use the railway because trained and friendly staff are waiting to assist them.

‘Our union remains wholly committed to reaching a negotiated settlement on pay, jobs, security and conditions.

‘But our members remain steadfast in their industrial action and will not be cowed into submission by anyone.’

Louise Haigh, shadow transport secretary, has written to Transport Secretary Mark Harper, telling him to ‘get back to work’ and sit down with rail unions and operators to end the strikes.

Labour said the transport secretary has not met either of the two rail unions at the centre of the rail strikes since before Christmas last year.

Ms Haigh said: ‘The fact that Mark Harper has refused to do his job whilst the British public have faced over a year of rail chaos is unacceptable.

‘The very least we should expect from the transport secretary is to sit down with the unions and rail operators, to try and reach an agreement to end these strikes for good.

‘The fact he has failed to do even that means we can safely add the transport secretary to the list of things that do not work in Britain any more.’

The majority of the 1007 ticket offices are to be closed over the next three years with the exception of a few ticket offices at busy stations

Many parts of the GWR network will have no service at all

Services will start later, finish much earlier and only operate for a limited period during the day

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