Train services have been drastically reduced on main lines today, and there are no services west of Exeter or on any line in East Anglia except on the main line to Norwich between London and Ely, There are no trains on many suburban lines south of London, or anywhere in Wales except between London, Bristol Parkway and Cardiff Central. Transport for Wales services are also running on some of the Valley Lines.
No trains are running north of the Scottish central belt, and Transport for London trains which use Network Rail infrastructure are also being cancelled or severely cut back.
The strike is the latest walkout in the RMT’s continuing campaign to obtain a higher pay rise. It affects Network Rail and 14 train operators. Where trains are running, they will cease on most lines by 18.30 this evening, and the disruption will continue on some routes for a while tomorrow morning. TSSA is also striking today at Avanti West Coast.
Further RMT strikes have been called on 18 and 20 August unless there is a breakthrough in the meantime.
ASLEF will be calling out its members at eight operators on 30 July, and the RMT said its London Underground members will hold a one-day strike on 19 August. The dispute at TfL has been worsened by what the RMT says has been TfL’s refusal to share a draft government proposal about future funding.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Our members will once again take to picket lines in this important dispute over pensions, jobs and conditions. They have been messed around by TfL and Mayor Sadiq Khan. And to add insult to injury they have not seen the detail of this funding letter from government.
‘Unless there can be assurances made about jobs, pensions and detrimental changes to working conditions, then our strike on August 19 will go ahead.’
Meanwhile, TSSA has given notice of a strike or action short of a strike at 11 operators on 18 and 20 August, which will coincide with the RMT’s action. The TSSA walkout will affect its members working at stations, and also operational, maintenance, supervisory and management staff.
Speaking on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning, transport secretary Grant Shapps repeated his refusal to join the negotiations personally, saying: ‘This is just a game by the unions, they play it in every single industrial action. It’s simply because the only people who can settle these disputes are the employers with the unions.’ He also alleged that ‘passengers are being taken for a ride’ by the ’extreme hard left unions’.