More misery for rail passengers as RMT stages 24-hour walkout

Rail passengers faced more travel misery on Saturday because of continuing industrial action by train drivers and other workers in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at 14 train operating companies launched a 24-hour strike, while drivers in the Aslef union were banning overtime.

Services were crippled on Friday when Aslef members walked out, leaving large parts of England with no trains all day.

Services were delayed or cancelled on Saturday, starting later and finishing earlier than usual.

Picket lines were mounted outside railway stations across the country, and the RMT said it continued to receive support from members of the public.

The RMT said it had received a reply from the Rail Delivery Group to a “roadmap” it had suggested last month to break the deadlock.

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “After a week, the RDG has formally responded to our initiative to try and reach a negotiated settlement to the national dispute.

“While it is encouraging that the train operating companies want to continue dialogue with us next week, a fresh proposal will be needed to progress this dispute towards a settlement.

“Their most recent proposal has been rejected and we will have to try and see if we can find a way forward.

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UK strikes in September.

UK strikes in September.

(PA Graphics)

“Our industrial campaign will continue until we reach a negotiated settlement on working conditions, job security and pay.

“RMT has laid out a comprehensive framework on how we can reach a negotiated settlement and is prepared to meet at any time, 24/7.

“It is now up to ministers to break the deadlock and allow rail bosses to put forward a revised offer.

“We have negotiated dozens of deals with rail employers across the country throughout the last 18 months, yet we are still unable to find a way forward in this dispute, which the Department for Transport has ultimate responsibility for.”

Industrial strike

Industrial strike

Members of the Aslef union on a picket line at Euston station in London on Friday (Victoria Jones/PA)

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “The industry will be working hard to keep as many services running as possible.

“There is no question the strikes called by the RMT and Aslef leaderships are deliberately designed to target passengers who want to enjoy various sporting events and the end of the summer holidays, disrupting their plans, hurting local economies and forcing more cars onto the road.

“This, despite the RMT having repeatedly refused their memberships a vote on offers of up to 13% for the lowest paid over two years, which could easily settle this dispute.

“While we welcome any attempt to resolve this dispute and we are always open to talks, sadly both the content and the timing of the offer made by the RMT leadership on the eve of strike action last week suggests it’s not a serious attempt to move forward.”