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London rail strike: Passengers face more travel chaos as workers resume industrial action


Ondon Rail passengers face more travel chaos on Wednesday due to another strike in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Members of the Aslef drivers’ union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) walk out, causing huge disruption to services, affecting London Overground and many national rail routes to and from the capital.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said the dispute would continue until the government intervened.

He says train drivers in England face a third year without a pay rise, pointing out that agreements have been reached in Scotland and Wales, and urged Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan to “lift the chains” of the train companies so that they can make a salary. provide workers.

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“The message I get from my members is that they are here for the long haul and rather want industrial action to be stepped up,” he said.

Ms Trevelyan, speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World at One, said she now saw the views of railway workers “more clearly” after meeting Mr Whelan and RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.

She said she met the couple “because I really wanted to understand where they were from.”

Network Rail warns on Wednesday of “significant disruption” to the railway and advises passengers to “only travel when absolutely necessary”.

People using train services are advised to check before traveling and to allow extra time for their journey.

Which lines are affected?

The train drivers’ strike will affect London Overground, Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express), Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Transpennine Express and West Midlands Trains .

TSSA members will strike at CrossCountry and take other forms of industrial action at several other operators.

The TSSA is also planning industrial action on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while rail, maritime and transport union members from more than a dozen rail companies and Network Rail will strike on Saturday.

There will be no service on London Overground routes on Wednesday apart from a service operating between Barking and Barking Riveside from 8am to 6.45pm.

The strike will not directly affect London Underground services, although the Tube network is expected to feel the ripple effects of the action. TfL says it is warning of disruptions that will continue until Thursday morning.

Rail companies not involved in the strike will run trains, but these are expected to be busy.

Services will likely be disrupted early Thursday morning as workers return to duty.

The disruption will affect football matches and the final day of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, where Prime Minister Liz Truss is due to deliver a speech on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Aslef announced on Wednesday morning that its members working on the Croydon Tramlink had rejected a pay offer and would strike on Monday and Tuesday.

London union official Finn Brennan said: “The management’s offer of 4.75 per cent is well below the current rate of inflation and would mean our members would face pay cuts in real terms. “

Daniel Mann, director of industrial operations at Rail Delivery Group, said: “These strikes are disrupting the travel plans of millions of passengers and undermining businesses that continue to battle rising costs and this continued action will only further damage the resumption of the railroad.

“Although some rail companies are not involved in the strike, services are likely to be busy, severely disrupted or in some cases not operate, so passengers should check the latest travel advice before departing.

“Passengers with advance tickets, off-peak or anytime affected by the October 5 strikes can use their ticket the day before the booked date, or until October 7 inclusive.

“Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on another date or get a refund if their train is canceled or postponed.”

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We only saw last weekend that our strike action was rock solid across the country. Our brilliant members remain committed to seeing their demands met in the form of a just settlement.

“We don’t strike lightly, but we’re ready to dig in as we seek a fair deal on wages, job security and terms in the face of cuts, economic collapse and a cost crisis. of life at the hands of this chaotic Conservative government.

“With more strikes and wider industrial action in sight this week, it is time for ministers to show wisdom and act now to reach a fair deal that will end a winter of rail misery on the network. .”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has criticized the strikes, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday that they will have a negative impact on people who cannot work from home.

“There are people who, if they can’t get to work, don’t get paid for the job,” he said. “You can’t be a cleaner by a Zoom call.

“It is the people who are disturbed. I think it is deeply, deeply unfair that the railroad unions are so upsetting these people when they themselves have a very good overall package.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “It is incredibly disappointing that for the second time in five days we are facing disruption to our railways, with businesses again affected, thousands people at risk of not being able to get to work or school, and missed medical appointments.

“Our railway is in desperate need of modernization, but strikes will only punish the very people the unions claim to defend and push passengers further away.

“We urge union bosses to reconsider this divisive action and instead work with their employers, not against them, to agree a new way forward.”

On Tuesday, Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said there was a “deal to be struck” between unions and rail operators, but stressed that any deal “will require compromise”.

Ms Trevelyan told Tories attending the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham that ‘the very last thing the country needs right now is more damaging industrial disputes’.

Of the ongoing strike, she said, “The sooner we can resolve these disputes, the sooner all of our efforts can be devoted to getting our economy running at full speed.”

The action received support from other quarters, with music stars banding together to record a new song in support of striking railway workers.

Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes, Dexys Midnight Runners stars Kevin Rowland and Sean Read, and Jesus and Mary Chain bassist Douglas Hart have joined forces to produce the song Enough is Enough.

It will feature a guest appearance by Mick Lynch and is slated for release in late October.