RMT chief Mick Lynch has warned further strikes “are very likely” later this year due to the gap between the union and the rail operators.
Speaking on Saturday, he told BBC Breakfast: “I’ll be talking to senior executives in the industry all through next week trying to create solutions to these problems and then we’ll decide whether we need to take more industrial action but I’ve got to say that it’s very likely given the gap between us at this time.”
Despite the severe travel disruption for many across the country, he said that the public is “right behind” the union as works to resolve issues surrounding pay, job cuts and working conditions.
The strike is expected to involve up to 40,000 workers and will include the following operators: Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains, GTR (including Gatwick Express), London Overground, Hull Trains, London Northwestern Railway.
The London Overground will run a service between 8am to 6pm, while the Elizabeth Line will also run a reduced timetable.
Due to the Tube strike on Friday, Londoners have been advised to check times before travelling on Saturday morning while the District and Bakerloo will be affected by the strike action throughout the day.
Mick Lynch apologises for strikes but insists they’re necessary
07:35 , Bill Mcloughlin
Speaking on Friday, the RMT’s Mick Lynch apologised for the strike action which has crippled the country.
He did add, however, that the union “can’t stand by and watch our conditions be chopped up”.
He said: “We’re very sorry that people are inconvenienced. We are hoping that people have sympathy for us.
“We’re ordinary men and women that want to do our jobs and provide a service, but when you’re being cut to pieces by an employer, and by the government, you’ve got to make a stand.
“We can’t stand by and watch our conditions be chopped up. So we’ve got to show them that we’re deadly serious about the future of the services across all of TfL, but also across our members’ conditions, because we don’t know what they’re discussing.”
Grant Shapps accused of ‘advocating fire and rehire’ to end rail strikes
07:52 , Sami Quadri
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he could enact legislation to force through measures sought by rail companies.
He told Sky News on Friday: “What I do know and I can say for sure is if we can’t get this settled in the way that we are proposing, which is, ‘Please put the deal to your membership’, then we will have to move to what is called a section 188; it is a process of actually requiring these changes to go into place so it becomes mandated.
“That is the direction that this is moving in now.”
But union leaders accused Shapps of being “desperate” and “out of touch”.
Manuel Cortes, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) general secretary, said: “This is yet more desperate stuff from Shapps intended to distract from the real issues in the rail dispute. He’s now actively advocating fire and rehire.
“Grant Shapps is touring TV studios spouting anti-worker nonsense when it’s actually within his gift as transport secretary to resolve this dispute. At every turn, his actions ramp up the dispute and make it harder to get a resolution.”
08:59 , Sami Quadri
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), rejected suggestions that striking rail workers would agree to the current offer on the table if the union put it to a vote.
Asked on BBC Breakfast on Saturday whether he had evidence to the contrary, Mr Lynch said: “Absolutely, I did a meeting on Wednesday evening the night before the strike of 14,000 RMT members in an online rally and our members are out today demonstrating.
“I speak to thousands of our members every week, we consult at least 600 Network Rail reps on a weekly basis and we know exactly what the mood of our members is.”
Mr Lynch also claimed that members of the smaller union Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, who did vote to accept a pay deal, “have been bribed to break this strike”.
He said: “Our members are not going to be bribed, the offer is puny and they’re not ready to accept it.”
Mick Lynch says public are ‘right behind us’
09:18 , Sami Quadri
Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said public support for the strikes is “entrenching” and the public are “right behind us”.
Asked on BBC Breakfast if public support may wane as disruption from the dispute continues, he said: “I don’t think we are at a tipping point. I think we’re seeing public support for this dispute entrenching.
“There are campaigns and rallies being launched right across the country in support of these type of activities. We’ve seen Unite bus workers coming into this dispute, we’ve seen many groups of workers winning significant pay deals.
“I think the British public are fed up of being ripped off by this Government and by corporate Britain, which have seen companies like BP and British Gas making massive profits while people are struggling to make a living.
“The companies are being supported in this by the Government and we’re determined to get a square deal for our people and that’s exactly what we’ll achieved and the public seems to be right behind us in that campaign.”
On further strikes, he said: “I’ll be talking to senior executives in the industry all through next week trying to create solutions to these problems and then we’ll decide whether we need to take more industrial action but I’ve got to say that it’s very likely given the gap between us at this time.”
Pictured: Empty platforms at Wandsworth Common Station in south London
10:40 , Sami Quadri
Mick Lynch accuses Grant Shapps of ‘distorting’ salary figures
11:07 , Sami Quadri
RMT's General Secretary Mick Lynch says the salary figures used by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP are a "complete distortion" compared to the 'modest pay' railway workers receivehttps://t.co/sT9kFvdNso
📺 Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/NByvf1KFbl
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 20, 2022
Latest pictures from Euston
12:42 , Bill Mcloughlin
14:03 , Sami Quadri
Two friends from Darlington visiting the capital for their birthdays have lost £100 on train tickets as a result of the week’s industrial action, and said travel stress had “put a dampener on their break”.
The pair, who did not wish to be named, had booked the three-day holiday earlier this year to celebrate their birthdays, purchasing their train tickets in March.
When they found out about the strikes, the friends also bought seats on a Friday evening train, in order to “hedge their bets” and ensure they could get home.
At 8.50pm on Thursday, they were informed their original Saturday train would not be running.
Speaking outside King’s Cross Station, one of the friends, a 60-year-old preschool teacher, said: “When we eventually got through (to the rail provider) – we were sat having a drink weren’t we – I’m on my phone frantically emailing, trying to see whether I could get tickets booked.
“We got them changed for this earlier train. So we didn’t need to use the Friday ones, but now we can’t get the money back. So it’s put a dampener on the break to be honest.”
Her friend, an estate agent, told PA: “We understand people have to say what they want to do, I get the thing with all the cutbacks that they’re making, but we’re all struggling financially as well. And we’ve lost money, we’ve lost over £100 now on train tickets.”
She added: “I travelled (to London) last week with my family, so that was another worry about that. I’ve worked all year for two lots of three nights in London and both of them have been impacted by it. So it’s damned annoying to be honest.”
Union ‘hell-bent’ on causing disruption, says Grant Shapps
17:00 , Bill Mcloughlin
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has accused the unions of attempting to cause as much as disruption to the public as possible, by staging further walkouts.
Mr Shapps said: “It’s clear, from their co-ordinated approach, that the unions are hell-bent on causing as much misery as possible to the very same taxpayers who stumped up £600 per household to ensure not a single rail worker lost their job during the pandemic.
“Sadly, union chiefs have short memories and will be repaying this act of good faith by ruining millions of hard-working people’s summer plans.”
Grant Shapps publishes letter sent to Mick Lynch
17:22 , Bill Mcloughlin
I've written to Mick Lynch to urge him to put Network Rail's fair 8% pay rise offer to his members.
RMT is prolonging these unnecessary strikes which are a kick in the teeth to workers who cannot get to their own jobs. pic.twitter.com/AD62CHVJla
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) August 20, 2022
What is happening tomorrow?
19:24 , Will Mata
Transport for London services predict there could be some follow-on disruption after the weekend’s strikes. “Disruption from the strikes will continue to affect some services,” a statement read - adding that passengers should avoid travelling before 8am. The same appears to be true for mainline trains. A Network Rail statement read: “You should also expect disruption due to the knock-on impact of industrial action on shift patterns.”
Both organisations advised passengers check before they travel.