RMT boss Mick Lynch today warned he 'won't hesitate' to plunge Britain into more strike chaos, as the train network ground to halt for a third time this week
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RMT boss Mick Lynch today warned he ‘won’t hesitate’ to plunge Britain into more strike chaos, as the train network ground to halt for a third time this week.

Rail bosses admitted fears ahead of today’s action that the shutdown will cause mayhem at major events and at seaside hotspots across the weekend. 

Industry sources said there is a ‘nervousness’ that people with long-standing plans, such as those with tickets for performances by the likes of Ed Sheeran and the Rolling Stones, will ignore advice to ‘only travel by train if necessary’.

Just a fifth of services are running run and half of lines are closed as 40,000 workers hit the picket lines once more in another day of disruption.

More than 90 per cent of office workers in London stayed at home on the first day of strikes which mitigated the fallout at stations. But a bumper weekend of gigs and sport is expected to cause more chaos today.

Mr Lynch said this morning he has not ruled out further strike action this summer, and said the RMT will decide after discussions next week.

Responding to a statement by Network Rail to Sky News Breakfast about the progress of talks, he said: ‘We’ve got to be very cautious about what they call progress.

‘They may be progressing their agenda, but it doesn’t mean that our members are going to accept those changes, just because the company wants them, so we’ve got to work that problem through with them.’

He added: ‘So it’s likely unless we get a lot of movement provided by the Government that the companies can change their stance that there will be more action, yes.’

He continued: ‘We’ve not named dates. We’re going to review where we are in the discussions next week, and then we will decide if we need to take more action.

‘We have to get two weeks’ notice of strikes anyway, that’s the legislation, so there won’t be any strikes in the next couple of weeks, but we’ll decide that. But we won’t hesitate to use more industrial action if we can’t reach an agreement or if the companies carry through their threats to make people redundant.’

In London, beyond the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park and Sheeran playing Wembley Stadium, thousands more are desperate to get to gigs by Billie Eilish, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and comedian Joe Lycett.

There are also events across the country for Armed Forces Day while cricket supporters will battle their way to see England’s third test against New Zealand at Headingley in Leeds.

Many seaside resorts will also have no services on Saturday, including Bournemouth, Dorset; Blackpool, Lancashire; Margate, Kent; Llandudno, North Wales; and Skegness, Lincolnshire. Cornwall will also have no trains.

Services will primarily be restricted to main lines, but even those will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm. Disruption will continue into Sunday.

RMT boss Mick Lynch today warned he 'won't hesitate' to plunge Britain into more strike chaos, as the train network ground to halt for a third time this week

RMT boss Mick Lynch today warned he ‘won’t hesitate’ to plunge Britain into more strike chaos, as the train network ground to halt for a third time this week 

Paddington Station in west London is devoid of travellers on the morning of the third day of national rail strikes

Paddington Station in west London is devoid of travellers on the morning of the third day of national rail strikes

A group of young passengers look glum as they wait in the early morning at Paddington Station in west London

A group of young passengers look glum as they wait in the early morning at Paddington Station in west London

A passenger sits with their head in their hands at Paddington station as they brace themselves for another day of rail chaos

A passenger sits with their head in their hands at Paddington station as they brace themselves for another day of rail chaos

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joins the RMT union's picket line at Newcastle Central Station this morning

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joins the RMT union’s picket line at Newcastle Central Station this morning

Empty platforms at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Empty platforms at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Picket line outside Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Picket line outside Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Information sign at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Information sign at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

A staff member waits by ticket barriers at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

A staff member waits by ticket barriers at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Closed platforms at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Closed platforms at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Industry sources said there is a 'nervousness' that people with long-standing plans, such as those with tickets for performances by the likes of Ed Sheeran (pictured), will ignore advice to 'only travel by train if necessary'

Industry sources said there is a ‘nervousness’ that people with long-standing plans, such as those with tickets for performances by the likes of Ed Sheeran (pictured), will ignore advice to ‘only travel by train if necessary’

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among those joining a picket line outside Newcastle Central Station this morning.

The staunch trade union supporter was greeted by raucous cheers as a crowd of more than 100 gathered to watch him speak, telling the crowd: ‘This Government is now getting rid of a large number of railway staff and refusing a pay rise which will keep up with the rate of inflation.

‘Post Covid they are punishing all those who did everything to keep the country running and to keep services  running. We demand decent levels of pay. We demand job guarantees. We demand investment in our services.

‘Let’s build a society fit for the next generation. Let’s build a society where the young people can look forward with hope.’

Mr Lynch said today ‘there’s a long way to go yet’ in rail company talks, as proposals will ‘very difficult to take on board’ for rail workers.

Speaking to Sky News Breakfast, Mr Lynch said of the talks: ‘They’ve given us a lot of detail about what they want from what they might call the new modern railway, what we don’t know is how our members are going to respond to that.

‘We hear a lot of the changes they want to make, but our members when they hear it will find a lot of the changes very difficult to take on board, so we’ll have to see what the complete package is and then we’ll have to go to our people and consult them in detail to see if they want to accept this package.

‘So there’s a long way to go yet. But most of the stuff that our members voted very heavily in favour for action about are what’s on the table now and they’ve not diluted very much the stuff that they want.’

He said issues yet to be resolved include ‘severe changes to our members’ terms and conditions, they do want to cut thousands of jobs, they want to recontract virtually everyone that works on the railway on a set of terms and conditions and pay that is lower than we currently have, and that in some ways is a form of fire and rehire’.

He added: ‘They’re saying we either have to adapt and adopt these new practices, or we will lose our jobs in greater numbers than even we thought, so there is still that constant threat to us, of mass job losses, thousands of jobs, new contracts of employment, new working practices, which will be detrimental to our people and we still haven’t got any offer that’s suitable on pay.’

Mr Lynch has not ruled out further strike action this summer, and said the RMT will decide after discussions next week.

Responding to a statement by Network Rail about the progress of talks, he said: ‘We’ve got to be very cautious about what they call progress.

‘They may be progressing their agenda, but it doesn’t mean that our members are going to accept those changes, just because the company wants them, so we’ve got to work that problem through with them.’

Passengers at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passenger arriving for Edinburgh Pride at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted

Passenger arriving for Edinburgh Pride at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted

Passengers at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

The picket line outside Euston station in London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

The picket line outside Euston station in London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

A pedestrian passes closed platforms at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

A pedestrian passes closed platforms at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

The picket line outside Euston station in London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

The picket line outside Euston station in London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Picket line outside Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Picket line outside Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

Passengers at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike

He also called on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to engage in ‘constructive’ talks with the unions to help settle a deal, after the minister condemned the union’s claims that he is ‘wrecking’ negotiations as a ‘total lie’.

Mr Lynch hit back on Saturday, saying: ‘We haven’t made any false claims. The railway last week was down by 80%, that has an effect that we don’t particularly want to deploy and they are losing revenue commercially and that hurts them and it hurts our people because they’ve lost their wages. We don’t want that.

‘So if Grant Shapps wants to be constructive, that’s what he can do. It’s up to him what his disposition is. I’ll work with Grant Shapps or anyone that has something constructive to say in this dispute.

‘He needs to tone down the rhetoric and get on with his job, which is to settle this dispute. I think their attitude is not constructive and I think it’s preventing us from getting a settlement.’

Those going to see the Shape of You singer at Wembley are braced for ‘carnage’ but many are determined to get to the event which they booked during lockdown.

While some were desperately trying to sell their tickets, Oliva Greene vowed: ‘No train strike is going to stop us!’

Others looking to drive to the gig faced rip-off prices with all official car parks sold out and one fan being charged over £400 to park on a nearby driveway.

Popular seaside resorts will also have no services including Bournemouth, Blackpool, Skegness and venues in Cornwall.

Trains across Britain will primarily be restricted to main lines, but even those will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm with the disruption flowing into tomorrow.

Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, said they are ‘very disappointed’ with the RMT, adding: ‘While we are doing our best to minimise disruption to passengers, our advice is to only travel if it is necessary, and if you are going to travel, please plan ahead.’

This week’s strikes are estimated to have cost the rail industry up to £150 million in lost revenue and the consequences of aborting planned upgrade work.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, called for an end to the strikes which have seen ‘some city centre pubs reporting a 50 per cent fall in sales’.

It comes as 90 per cent of London Underground staff balloted voted to strike, which RMT general secretary Mick Lynch hailed as a ‘fantastic result’. Just 53.1 per cent of the RMT members turned out and the strike date is yet to be set.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) has also hundreds of members across Greater Anglia. Voting starts on Wednesday, with the result due in mid-July, so the earliest date strike action could take place is July 27.

Despite the mayhem, Gary Lineker – who was pictured on the picket line on Thursday – showed more support for the strikers.

He tweeted: ‘Whatever your view on the strike, one thing we can surely agree on (we won’t, obviously) is that Mick Lynch is bloody good.’

'Grant Shapps needs to get in the room or get out of the way so we can negotiate with these companies who we have successfully struck dozens of deals with previously,' demanded RMT general secretary Nich Lynch

‘Grant Shapps needs to get in the room or get out of the way so we can negotiate with these companies who we have successfully struck dozens of deals with previously,’ demanded RMT general secretary Nich Lynch

Continued rail strikes will cause misery for thousands this weekend as travellers have their seaside plans ruined

Continued rail strikes will cause misery for thousands this weekend as travellers have their seaside plans ruined

Talks between the RMT, Network Rail and 13 train operating companies covering most of the country continued yesterday.

Sources said both sides were ‘inching closer’ to a deal but that the RMT was digging its heels in over Network Rail demands for working practices to be modernised.

This is a key demand for Network Rail, which manages signalling and track maintenance, as it believes it can save millions of pounds which can be turned into staff pay rises.

The RMT wants pay rises of about 7 per cent for workers but so far Network has only formally tabled a deal worth 3 per cent.

A source close to the negotiations said: ‘At the moment, if you have a points failure, it could be something to do with the track or the signalling.

‘So we have to send a signalling team and a track team in 2 separate vans because they won’t share the van, we need separate people to load the equipment, because they won’t load each other’s equipment or do it at the other end.

‘We have to send whole teams. So we will send 6 or 8 people to attend a points failure which might need just one person to fix it.’

Network Rail wants to multi-skill workers so less people need to attend jobs and be able to roster more staff at weekends and overnight.

The source added: ‘It’s simple things like that which drive £100million a year of savings.’

The RMT has a mandate to call strikes for six months and could announce a new round of walkouts in the coming days.

Yesterday the Mail revealed how the TSSA rail union could team up with the RMT to target the Commonwealth Games towards the end of July and early August.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the strikes were hitting some people at the 'worst possible time'. However, Mick Lynch said that his union was 'standing up for all working people trying to get a pay rise and some job security'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the strikes were hitting some people at the ‘worst possible time’. However, Mick Lynch said that his union was ‘standing up for all working people trying to get a pay rise and some job security’

Steve Montgomery, who chairs the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, said: ‘We are very disappointed that the RMT union leadership has chosen to take action which will severely inconvenience the millions of people who had plans over the weekend.

‘While we are doing our best to minimise disruption to passengers, our advice is to only travel if it is necessary, and if you are going to travel, please plan ahead.’

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: ‘Unfortunately, the RMT’s decision to carry out another day of needless and premature strike action means our passengers will suffer again on Saturday.

‘A fraction of trains will run compared to a usual Saturday service, with trains starting later in the morning and finishing much earlier in the evening.

‘I am really sorry to our passengers for the inevitable disruption to their journeys and their weekend.

‘We remain at the table and ready for talks, day or night, and will do everything we can to avoid further disruption for our passengers.’

This week’s strikes are estimated to have cost the rail industry up to £150 million in lost revenue and the consequences of aborting planned upgrade work.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said its members are ‘standing up for all working people trying to get a pay rise and some job security’.

He continued: ‘In a modern economy, workers need to be properly rewarded for their work, enjoy good conditions and have the peace of mind that their job will not be taken away from them.

‘(Transport Secretary) Grant Shapps needs to get in the room or get out of the way so we can negotiate with these companies who we have successfully struck dozens of deals with previously.

‘What we cannot accept is thousands of railway workers being thrown on the scrapheap after being praised as heroes during Covid.

‘RMT will continue its industrial campaign until a negotiated settlement is reached.’

Mr Shapps said while the strikes were hitting some people at the ‘worst possible time’, this week had also shown they were not as effective a tool for the unions as they once were.

‘Despite what the RMT may claim, we have not seen the level of overcrowding on buses or heavy congestion on roads some feared because the world has changed and many more people can now work from home,’ he said.

Talks between the RMT and rail employers have been held throughout this week and are expected to resume in the next few days.

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