All strikes could intensify if no agreement can be reached, warned the RMT general secretary.
Mick Lynch said he did not see Saturday’s strike being averted as train passengers were told to only travel if necessary today, the second day of the RMT walkout on Britain’s railways.
Asked about the weekend walkout, he told Sky News: “It’s hard work. It will take a lot of progress to get this strike. I don’t see that happening today from where I am, but we will work constructively with business.
The union confirmed industrial action would continue as planned after talks between the union, Network Rail and train operators again hit a stumbling block on Wednesday afternoon.
At least 40,000 RMT members will picket amid an ongoing dispute over layoffs and real-time pay cuts. The railway will operate at 20% capacity, and many of the last intercity trains are expected to leave by mid-afternoon.
The London Underground is generally unaffected, although the new Elizabeth line and the London Overground, which both use national rail lines, will be. Commuters are asked to complete their journey on both lines before 6 p.m. The disruptions are expected to continue through Friday.
Pictured: People wait for trains at Liverpool Street station
Elizabeth Line partially closed after vandalism
There’s more disruption to Elizabeth Line passengers today, but this time it’s vandalism.
Commuters heading to Shenfield will need to change at Liverpool Street for the Central Line and then switch back to the Elizabeth Line at Stratford to continue their journey.
“Someone threw something on the track between Stratford and Liverpool Street,” said a member of staff at Liverpool Street station.
“I don’t know why, some people just aren’t doing well.”
Road congestion in London is higher than at the same time last week
Figures from TomTom show the level of road congestion at 9am in London was higher than at the same time last week.
But congestion levels remained lower or relatively stable in other cities.
In London, congestion levels rose from 75% on June 16 to 83% on Thursday.
But in Glasgow, congestion levels fell from 40% to 36%, and in Liverpool, levels fell slightly from 49% to 47%.
In Manchester, congestion levels fell from 64% to 66%.
Rail strikes impact holidaymakers’ journeys to London airports
Crowds of holidaymakers worried about missing their flights as train delays left them stranded at Liverpool Street station in London.
The Stansted Express normally departs twice an hour from Britain’s third-busiest station, but the strike has reduced that number to one.
A man, who was returning to Sofia in Bulgaria after three days in London, complained in broken English that the experience was “stressful”.
Asked how long he still expected to wait, the man – who had been stuck at the station for half an hour – replied: “I don’t know, I’m just looking at the sign, I hope not too much long time.
“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating because I’m here on vacation, but it’s a little stressful.”
Pictured: Passengers walk through Waterloo station
Labor MP joins picket outside Liverpool Lime Street
Birkenhead Labor MP Mick Whitley joined RMT members on a picket line outside Liverpool Lime Street station.
He said: “I think every Labor MP should come out. Let’s be clear, the Labor Party was born out of the trade union movement and they are our political voice in Parliament, so every Labor MP should be absent.
He said a pay deal with Merseyrail bolstered the argument that the government was “fabricating the dispute”.
He added: “We don’t want to mess up people’s travel plans, but if you’re pushed into a corner you have to do something.”
Rail Delivery Group Chairman: I hope no one needs to be compulsorily laid off
BBC Breakfast asked Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, why railway workers are not being given guarantees that the reforms will not lead to compulsory redundancies.
He replied: “What we don’t understand until we start the process of reform and agree on key principles…is how far reform can go.
“If we offer voluntary departures to people, how many people will take these voluntary departures?
“How many people can we retrain and assign to other jobs? »
He added: “We believe that once we complete the reform, we can hopefully welcome anyone who wants to stay with the organisation.
“So we just need to go through the processes and see how many people are left, and hopefully no one needs to be compulsorily laid off.”
Pictured: picket line at Victoria Station
Pictured: Travel chaos as rail strikes hit on day two
Union boss accuses government of interfering with negotiations
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch accused the government of being a “silent partner” at the negotiating table.
Mr Lynch said the government negatively influenced the talks to try to negotiate wages, jobs and conditions for RMT members, meaning the strikes continued.
On Thursday, thousands of railway workers are staging the second industrial action this week, with another scheduled for Saturday June 25.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: ‘The government’s hand is in this and they are a silent partner at the table.
“Companies leave the room to go and consult with ministers and departmental officials and when they come back, often the situation is worse than when we took the adjournment.
“There is a third party in these meetings and they influence him in a very negative way.”