Industrial deadlock continues as new rail strikes start

Members of the RMT at 14 train operating companies in England are on strike today, after negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group appeared to have stalled again.

Network Rail staff are not striking, because a new pay offer has been put to RMT Network Rail members in a ballot which closes on Monday.

Even so, the lack of RMT staff at the operators means that timetables have been cut back, with last trains running much earlier than usual and with no service to many destinations.

Although staff at ScotRail and Transport for Wales are not involved and are continuing to provide domestic rail services, cross-border trains in Scotland and Wales run by English operators are disrupted.

Avanti West Coast will not be serving North Wales today, nor running to Glasgow, although this is because of engineering work at Carstairs. Replacement buses are being provided from Carlisle, and ScotRail trains are also running from Carlisle to Glasgow on the Glasgow & South Western route via Dumfries and Kilmarnock.

LNER is not running north of Edinburgh, and its services between there and London are reduced. There are no GWR trains west of Cardiff, north of Oxford or west of Plymouth. Other operators’ timetables in England are also disrupted, although c2c services are almost normal and Merseyrail is not affected by the strikes.

Transport for London services are returning to normal after yesterday’s Underground strike by ASLEF and the RMT, but at 09.30 this morning TfL was still warning of ‘severe delays’ on some Underground lines.

The RMT is set to stage a second 24-hour National Rail walkout on Saturday, and unless there is a settlement in the meantime, two more strikes have been called for 30 March and 1 April.

Meanwhile, the RMT has criticised large pay rises awarded to senior managers working for some train operators.

The union’s general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘On the one hand Ministers tell workers they must tighten their belts and on the other they are using taxpayer’s money to fund eyewatering pay rises and profits for the railway fat cats. It is this blatant the unfairness that will only reinforce our members determination to get a better deal.’

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