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New map reveals full extent of rail misery as union workers prepare to strike tomorrow
26 July 2022, 07:19 | Updated: 26 July 2022, 13:10
More than 40,000 workers are set to go on strike on Wednesday bringing further misery to rail passengers across the country.
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Fourteen train operating companies will strike on Wednesday in an ongoing row over pay, jobs and conditions, which saw the network upended by the biggest rail strike in modern history last month.
A second strike is also due to take place on Saturday - with two more days of action planned to grind the country to a halt in August.
Vast swathes of the country will be left without any rail services at all when the strikes take place on Wednesday and operators from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) down their tools.
Network Rail has urged people not to travel at all and warned disruption is expected to last into Thursday morning, with a later start to services.
Many lines will be closed altogether during the strike, with a highly limited service running on other branches from 7.30am to 6.30pm and just 20% of services in operation.
Some parts of the country will be completely cut off, with no services running.
The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) has also announced a strike by its members at Avanti West Coast on Wednesday, while members of the drivers union Aslef will strike on Saturday in a number of companies.
Last-ditch talks to avoid strike action have collapsed, meaning the UK is heading for further chaos on the rails this week.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Despite our best efforts to find a breakthrough, I’m afraid there will be more disruption for passengers this week as the RMT seems hell-bent on continuing their political campaigning, rather than compromising and agreeing a deal for their members.
“I can only apologise for the impact this pointless strike will have on passengers, especially those travelling for holidays or attending events such as the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final (Wednesday 27th) and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games (Thursday 28th). It is frustrating to yet again ask our passengers to change their plans and only make essential journeys.”
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RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said union members were more determined than ever to secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions.
"Network Rail have not made any improvement on their previous pay offer and the train companies have not offered us anything new.
"In fact Network Rail have upped the ante, threatening to impose compulsory redundancies and unsafe 50% cuts to maintenance work if we did not withdraw our planned strike action.
"The train operating companies have put driver-only operations on the table along with ransacking our members' terms and conditions.
"RMT will continue to negotiate in good faith but we will not be bullied or cajoled by anyone.
"The Government need to stop their interference in this dispute so the rail employers can come to a negotiated settlement with us."
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Transport for London (TfL) said while the industrial action does not involve its staff, varying degrees of disruption are expected on the District and Bakerloo Tube lines, London Overground, and the Elizabeth line, which all share some sections of track with Network Rail.
A separate train strike by the Asflef union, which represents drivers, will take place on Saturday.
Seven different companies will be impacted: Arriva Rail London; Chiltern Railways; Greater Anglia; Great Western; Hull Trains; LNER; Southeastern; and West Midlands Trains.
Department for Transport spokesperson said: "It's now clearer than ever that the RMT has no interest in engaging in constructive discussions and is hell-bent on creating further misery for passengers across the UK.
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"This action is a cynically timed attempt to derail the start of the Commonwealth Games, one of the first major events the country has been able to look forward to since the pandemic.
"As well as those travelling to the Games, RMT's actions will affect people in need of urgent care, hardworking families off on long-awaited holidays and day trips, and businesses - all while a fair two-year, 8% deal hasn't even been put to their members.
"The rail industry has to modernise and be brought into the 21st century for the benefit of passengers and staff. We're extremely disappointed to see that instead of staying at the table, RMT executives have chosen to walk away once more.
"We continue to encourage RMT to do the right thing by their members and passengers alike and call off the strikes."