Rail strikes WILL go ahead, union announces after last-ditch talks fail to stop biggest walkout in 30 years | The Sun

THE rail strikes will go ahead after last ditch talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMT union said.

Passengers have been urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary with half the rail network shut down on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in the biggest walkout in 30 years.

40,000 workers will walk out over job cuts, pay and conditions from tomorrow.

The union has admitted it's causing the carnage to protect ancient rules which mean train staff only have to work 35 hours a week — the equivalent of seven hours a day.

Commuters have been told to return home by 6pm tonight to avoid travel chaos as staff walkouts begin.

The warning comes as millions of Brits have already been caught up in the transport drama today.


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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps denied that he is "the problem" in relation to rail strikes.

He told Sky News: "The actual unions need to sit down with the employers because this is a highly technical discussion around 20 different areas of modernisation that are required on the railway, to make sure the railways can continue to function.

"We've given £16 billion of taxpayers' money through coronavirus to make sure that none of those railway employees lost their jobs.

"So they need to work on this together between the union and the employers."

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A TfL statement said: "We are advising customers to avoid travelling on Tuesday 21 June, when strike action will severely disrupt most of TfL's and national rail's services.

"If you need to travel, you are advised to complete your journey by 18:00.

"Disruption on all Tube lines will continue through the morning of Wednesday 22 June.

"No London Underground services are expected to run before 08:00, when they will begin running with delays.

"We encourage customers to avoid making journeys until mid-morning."

Many train services have been cancelled with "shortage of train crew" given among the reasons ahead of a national walkout of rail workers.

And a number of train companies are running emergency timetables today, warning people to only travel if necessary.

But Treasury chief secretary Simon Clarke said earlier today it is likely the rail strike will go ahead and insisted it is not up to the Government to resolve the dispute.

Downing Street has warned it will be "extremely difficult" commuting during the rail strikes.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "For those that have no choice but to come in it will be extremely difficult tomorrow and I think the public will understandably want to know why they are being put in this position.

"We believe we are seeking to offer a fair and reasonable pay rise and modernise the railway services for the long term, and we need to get rid of some of these outdated rules and procedures, some of which have not been updated for decades and which don't serve the public."

The strike has been designed to cause maximum disruption, meaning six days of chaos this week.

But NHS oncologist Professor Robert Thomas said the strike will lead to cancer deaths.

He told Good Morning Britain: "There's 120,000 on chemotherapy and a similar amount on radiotherapy. It's well established that delays will have a 20 per cent reduction in benefit of cancer treatment. 

"I think it's selfish and inappropriate. Oncology is at breaking point at the moment.

"This will lead to loss of life. Maybe not now but in the next few months.

"It's going to lead to considerable delays and considerable distress.

"If it's going to cause loss of life you have got to ask if they have the moral authority to make the choice of going on strike at this time."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady saidrail staff have been left with "no other option".

And RMT boss Mike Lynch has previously said he will run the campaign for as long as it takes to get a settlement, potentially creating havoc for more than six months.

Meanwhile, teachers, binmen and posties have threatened to join the walkout – causing chaos unseen since the 1970s.

A reduced timetable this week will operate just 20 per cent of train services on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

And a map of misery has illustrated how just half of the country's network will be open.

Network Rail said that no passenger services will serve locations such as Penzance in Cornwall, Bournemouth in Dorset, Swansea in South Wales, Holyhead in North Wales, Chester in Cheshire and Blackpool, Lancashire.

There will also be no passenger trains running north from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

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And the last train from Edinburgh to London on the East Coast Main Line will stop running at lunchtime at 1.30pm.

Mr Lynch, who said workers have been "robbed of wages", told Sky News yesterday:

He said they want a seven per cent pay rise.

The average salary of a train driver is £54,000 per year – a seven per cent rise on that would see them raking in £57,780.

The strike is set to cause chaos for millions, from workers to holidaymakers and parents.

More than half of services to Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, Somerset have been cancelled.

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