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Millions of commuters are facing a second day of disruption across Britain after today following a 24-hour strike which crippled the rail network and caused travel chaos across the country.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail and 14 train companies walked out on Wednesday in a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
Talks between rail chiefs and union barons are expected to resume today – but there is little sign of the deadlock being broken.
Disputes in the bitter row over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions are worsening, with more strikes due in the coming days, and a wave of industrial action planned next month on the railways and London Underground.
Network Rail said have said disruptions to trains will continue this morning due to knock-on effect from Thursday’s RMT strike, with several operators saying services will start later than usual.
The delays threaten disruption to people travelling to Birmingham for the start of the Commonwealth Games, which is expected to have 30,000 people gather for the opening ceremony this afternoon.
However, many commuters chose to work from home during the rail strikes and experts said industrial action was becoming less effective despite it crippling services again.
Many have been forced to walk or cycle or jump in a cab, with Uber journeys surging to roughly three times the price as desperate workers scramble to get to the office. Uber’s app automatically increases prices when demand outstrips the number of cars available.
Today a four mile journey in London, usually costing £13, cost passengers around £20 amid the cost of living crisis as commuters face a second day of discontent.
Meanwhile, the UK’s travel hubs are facing delays as passengers at Manchester and Bristol airport report painfully-long queues as Britons prepare for their summer getaways.
WIMBLEDON: Millions of commuters are facing a second day of disruption across Britain after today following a 24-hour strike which crippled the rail network and caused travel chaos across the country
WIMBLEDON: Network Rail said have said disruptions to trains will continue this morning due to knock-on effect from Thursday’s RMT strike, with several operators saying services will start later than usual
MANCHESTER: Passengers at Manchester airport this morning reported painfully long-queues at Terminal 2
BRISTOL: Holidaymakers and commuters flying from Bristol Airport encounter lengthy queues pre 4.30am as IT check-in systems temporarily fail for a second day running
BRISTOL: Hundreds of flights have been delayed or cancelled at airports across the UK over the last few months as staff recruitment problems continue against booming demand for post-covid air travel
BRISTOL: Holidaymakers and commuters flying from Bristol Airport encounter lengthy queues, with some passengers who get to the airport early sleeping at the check-in area
BRISTOL: Families this morning were pictured queueing at check-in amid the ongoing travel crisis across Britain
BRISTOL: Britons at Bristol airport this morning face ‘two hour’ queues as holidaymakers begin the start of the summer getaway
Today a four mile journey in London, usually costing £13, cost passengers around £20 amid the cost of living crisis as commuters face a second day of discontent
Many have been forced to walk or cycle or jump in a cab, with Uber journeys surging to roughly three times the price as desperate workers scramble to get to the office. Uber’s app automatically increases prices when demand outstrips the number of cars available
Strikes will be held on Saturday and next month by the RMT as well as members of the drivers’ union Aslef and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association.
Aslef has announced that drivers at nine rail companies are to stage a one-day strike on Saturday August 13, saying the firms failed to make a pay offer to help members keep pace with increases in the cost of living.
Drivers are already set to strike this Saturday at seven companies and Aslef members at two more train operators voted overwhelmingly for industrial action. Only around one in five trains ran on Wednesday, with some areas having no services at all.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: ‘Strikes are always the last resort.
‘We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies, who say they have been driven to this by the government.’
One Twitter user said although they were able to work from home during Wednesday’s strike action, but will face delays this morning due to many train operators offering a skeleton service.
Kacy wrote: ‘I swapped my work from home say this week to get around the train strike. I am lucky that this is possible. I’m not so lucky tomorrow as my train operator is only running a Sunday service, which means my first train will get me to work late.’
Another user, named Eva Luna added: ‘The paying customers are fed up to their back teeth of being harassed every year despite paying sky high train fares. We don’t support these strikes and any step the Government takes to deal with it will be welcomed by the fed-up customers.’
Paul Adamson added: ‘National Rail you really are taking the p*** out of people who need to travel to get to their place of work. We now have to worry about train strikes and how we are getting to work like it isn’t hard enough as it is. ‘
A row broke out between unions and the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps after he laid out plans to curb industrial action, including stopping coordinated industrial action, limiting picketing, and having a cooling off period after strikes.
BEDFORD: The picket at the railway station. Former RMT branch secretary Allan Jeyes, 69, told MailOnline that bosses have ‘got loads of money’ for rises
RMT union general secretary (left) pictured on the picket line with Mr Tarry (right) at Euston station yesterday as the latter defied Keir Starmer
BRISTOL: Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on the picket line outside Temple Meads station o0n Wednesday
The RMT has so far called strikes on alternate days, with one 24-hour walkout taking place today and two in August. Workers also walked out on June 21, 23 and 25
The RMT and TSSA will hold more strikes on August 18 and 20, while London Underground workers will walk out on August 19.
Strikes are also being held on Friday by BT workers and those at exam board AQA.
Royal Mail workers have voted to strike, while disputes are brewing over the pay of public sector workers including teachers and health employees.
It comes as Trade Union ministers have condemned Labour for sacking Sam Tarry after he joined a picket line in support of striking rail workers
Angela Rayner’s union-backing boyfriend was sacked as Labour Shadow Transport Secretary for a ‘breach of collective responsibility’ after he joined striking rail workers on the picket line today in defiance of Keir Starmer.
Mr Tarry turned up at London’s Euston station on Wednesday ‘in solidarity’ with the 40,000 RMT members who have shut down at least half of Britain’s rail network today, with more planned for August.
In a clear act of defiance to the Labour leader, the Ilford South MP, 39, joined Jeremy Corbyn and union baron Mick Lynch on the picket line.
In a clear act of defiance to Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Transport Secretary Sam Tarry turned up at Euston station to join the picket with Mick Lynch, pictured over his right shoulder on Wednesday
Angela Rayner, 41, became close to the 39-year-old Ilford South MP after he ran her campaign to become Labour’s deputy leader
Rail, Maritime and Transport union General Secretary Mr Lynch (right) and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outside London Euston train station yesterday as Sir Keir Starmer urged MPs to stay away
They were supporting a rail strike that has left just one in five trains running today and millions unable to travel in another £100million-plus hit to the economy.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: ‘The Labour Party will always stand up for working people fighting for better pay, terms and conditions at work.
‘This isn’t about appearing on a picket line. Members of the frontbench sign up to collective responsibility.
‘That includes media appearances being approved and speaking to agreed frontbench positions.
‘As a government-in-waiting, any breach of collective responsibility is taken extremely seriously and for these reasons Sam Tarry has been removed from the frontbench.’
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, tweeted: ‘Solidarity to Sam Tarry. Supporting workers at RMT and all other workers in dispute is in the best traditions of what Labour was founded for and should stand for. The sacking is quite frankly shameful.’
Kate Osamor, MP for Edmonton, added: ‘Solidarity Sam Tarry. The Labour Party exists to fight for ordinary people. We must never lose sight of that.’
Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford & Eccles, said: ‘Solidarity supporting workers as they fight for their jobs, pay and conditions is exactly what Labour is supposed to do.
‘Trade unions formed to become the political voice of workers and to fight for a decent standard of life for all.’
Mr Tarry is a former TSSA union official. He is in a relationship with Ms Rayner, 41, having become close to after he ran her campaign to become Labour’s deputy leader.