Posted 23rd June 2022 | 1 Comment

Second national rail walkout after new talks fail

Train services are being reduced to emergency timetables on main lines for a second day after a new round of talks between the RMT, Network Rail and train operating companies failed to make progress.

The dispute, over jobs and pay, means that today’s strike will disrupt services in every part of Britain, with no trains running in Dorset or Cornwall, much of East Anglia, and also on most lines in Scotland and Wales.

Limited services are running on some main lines, but there are no trains west of Cardiff or to Holyhead, or west of Plymouth. Although ScotRail and Transport for Wales are not involved, most of their routes are closed because no Network Rail signallers are available.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has been criticised because he has not intervened directly but is allegedly controlling the negotiations from behind the scenes. However, Railnews understands that the Treasury is now overseeing railway finances rather than the Department for Transport.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Grant Shapps has wrecked these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for 2,900 of our members. Until the government unshackle Network Rail and the train operating companies, it is not going to be possible for a negotiated settlement to be agreed.

‘We will continue with our industrial campaign until we get a negotiated settlement that delivers job security and a pay rise for our members that deals with the escalating cost of living crisis.’

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines has said that maintenance jobs are being reduced because new technology means fewer staff are needed. He has undertaken to cut the number of posts by voluntary severance or retirement, adding that anyone wishing to stay would be offered fresh training and a different job within Network Rail.

He is reported by the Daily Telegraph to have added that poor productivity was the problem, continuing: ‘We are such an archaic industry in many of our working practices we can offer a good pay rise to our colleagues and good value for the taxpayer if only we can get sensible reforms in.’ 

Unless there is a breakthrough in the meantime, a third national walkout is set to be staged on Saturday.

Reader Comments:

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  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    I know the Media has been full of stories about the rail strikes, but here in Reading it has been a non-event. The roads are much clearer than ever as well. All my Family have to use cars for work, and they all left earlier thinking it would be bad but it isn't. Everyone seems to be coping extremely well. Covid lockdowns taught us how we didn't need the railways. Although I've gone back to using rail for leisure travel, all those trips can just as easily be done by car. The only thing that annoys me about using my car is phoning up Ringo to pay for Parking Fees.