Rail travellers in Great Britain begin another strike-disrupted day


Rail passengers around Great Britain are facing another day of disruption as train staff in the RMT union begin a 24-hour strike.

The strike on Thursday is the first of three in 10 days by RMT members, with two further stoppages on 22 and 29 July, and is taking place during a week-long overtime ban by train drivers in the Aslef union.

About 20,000 RMT members at 14 train operators contracted by the Department for Transport in England will be involved in the strike. The stoppage is expected to add to a disrupted peak summer holiday getaway weekend.

The strikes in the long-running pay dispute will cut services across the railway, including cross-border trains serving Wales and Scotland.

Most train operators will be running reduced timetables that begin later and finish earlier, although there are wide variations in service levels.

Engineering work will also compound disruption on the main intercity route, the west coast mainline linking London and Glasgow. Long-distance operators including Avanti West Coast, LNER and GWR will reduce services to roughly hourly trains on the main routes.

Others, including Northern, TransPennine Express, Southeastern and Govia Thameslink Railway, will stop services altogether on some lines and to many stations.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, has urged passengers to check schedules through the day for updates, with disruption likely to continue into Friday morning.

A spokesperson said the latest strikes would affect “not only the daily commute of our passengers” but also disrupt the plans of families during the summer holidays, leading to “disappointment, frustration, and financial strain for tens of thousands of people”.

Unions have said they are being pushed into further strikes, with neither industry leaders nor ministers offering to talk since tabling below-inflation pay offers this year.

Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT, said he remained “available 24/7” for talks, adding: “Our national dispute is about pay job security and working conditions. The recent attack on ticket offices and the threat to de-staff our railways has galvanised a huge groundswell of public support, which we are grateful for.

“Our members and our union will not be cowed by rail bosses or government ministers and our dispute will continue until we can reach a negotiated settlement.”

Mick Whelan, the general secretary of Aslef, said on Monday: “The blame lies with the train companies, and the government that stands behind them, which have not made a fair and sensible pay offer to train drivers who have not had [a rise]for four years while prices have soared.”

A DfT spokesperson said the government had facilitated pay offers and that unions should allow members a direct vote.