Second day of railway strikes begins after talks fail in bitterness |  Rail strikes

Second day of railway strikes begins after talks fail in bitterness | Rail strikes

Second day of railway strikes begins after talks fail in bitterness |  Rail strikes

A second day of strike is underway on Thursday, after talks to prevent the strike turned into resentment on Wednesday night.

Millions of passengers face disruption to train services across Britain as 40,000 RMT members working for Network Rail and 13 train operators organize their second strike in a week.

Only one in five trains runs on Thursdays and the services only run between 07:30 and 18:30. Trains will mostly be limited to main lines, with about half of the network closed. Passengers are requested to travel only when necessary.

The government plans to change the law – by repealing “troublesome” legal restrictions – to allow companies to provide temporary workers to cover workers on strike during union actions. Network Rail welcomed the move, but Labor and unions condemned it as a “recipe for disaster”.

Last night, the head of the RMT union, Mick Lynch, the transportation secretary, Grant Shapps, lashed out for “ruining the negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening to fire 2,900 of our members” in the dispute over pay, working conditions and proposed “modernization plans”. Shapps said the RMT claim was “a total lie”. Network Rail said the union had abandoned the negotiations.

Separately, the Transport Salried Staffs’ Association announced that its members at Merseyrail had accepted a 7.1% pay offer.

Tim Shoveller, director of the northwest and central region at Network Rail, said a similar deal with the RMT was “highly unlikely.” “We currently have a total of 3% on the table and we would like to improve on that, but that is subject to affordability,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Thursday.

He said the difference between the 3% and 7.1% reward offers each year was £65 million in cost savings the industry should find. But he added: “We can see a way to fund a wage agreement, not in that kind of proportion, but still an overall good package, recognizing that the main thing the unions are asking for is a guarantee that there is no redundancies.”

Eddie Dempsey, the RMT’s deputy secretary general, also spoke on Radio 4 and said he would speak with Shoveller on Thursday, and that Network Rail’s letter would not necessarily stop the union from negotiating.

However, he added: “What we don’t understand is how people from the industry can go into the media and say, ‘We don’t intend to forcibly make people redundant’, but send us a letter to explain the legal process for consultation on dismissal and refuse to give us a non-mandatory redundancy guarantee, which is the main demand we have in this dispute.”