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Second rail strike to go ahead as UK Transport Secretary accused of ‘wrecking’ negotiations

22 Jun 2022 4 minutes Read
Cardiff Central Station. Photo TfW

Talks were held on Wednesday between the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), Network Rail and rail operators in a bid to break the deadlocked row.

But there was no breakthrough, with the RMT criticising Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

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.”

RMT members at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on Thursday following a stoppage on Tuesday, crippling large parts of the rail network.

Transport for Wales

Transport for Wales (TfW) is advising customers not to travel by train on Thursday and says the majority of rail services will be suspended as a result of the strike.

TfW is not in dispute with RMT, but the industrial action means they are unable to operate rail services on Network Rail infrastructure.

The only services running on 23 June will be a reduced service between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with replacement bus services between Radyr and Cardiff Central.

All other services will be suspended, as signalling and other infrastructure work is managed by Network Rail, who are impacted by the industrial action.

Other networks operating in Wales are also warning of disruption due to the dispute.

Avanti West Coast has confirmed all routes to north Wales have been cancelled due to the strike and GWR says there will be no trains running on the South Wales main line (Carmarthen/Swansea – Cardiff Central) and an extremely limited service will operate between 07:30 and 18:30 between Cardiff Central and London Paddington.

Cross Country Trains to Wales from Birmingham have also been been cancelled.

Disappointed

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson: “We are very disappointed that the RMT leadership has decided to go ahead with tomorrow’s strikes. With passenger numbers still at only 80% of pre-pandemic levels the industry remains committed to giving a fair deal on pay while taking no more than its fair share from taxpayers.

“We can only achieve that by making improvements – like offering better services on a Sunday – that reflect the changing needs of passengers so we can attract more back. We call on the RMT leadership to continue to talk so that we can secure a thriving long-term future for the railway and its workforce.

“Our advice to passengers remains the same, only travel by rail if absolutely necessary, check before you travel and make sure you know the time of your first and last trains.”

Disruption

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the RMT have again chosen to walk away from negotiations without agreeing a deal. We remain available for talks – day or night – and will do everything we can to avoid further disruption for our passengers.

“As a result of this needless and premature strike, rail services tomorrow will look much like they did on Tuesday – starting later in the morning and finishing much earlier in the evening (around 6.30pm).

“We are asking passengers to please check before you travel, be conscious of when your last available train is departing, and only travel by train if necessary.”


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