Rail strikes DON’T bring the modern world to a halt: Tactic is less ‘effective’ as many staff can simply WFH, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as he taunts unions
- More than 90 per cent of London office workers stayed home on first strike day
- A bumper weekend of gigs and sport could cause chaos in the capital today
- The Rolling Stones are at Hyde Park and Ed Sheeran is performing at Wembley
Rail strikes have become less effective because so many commuters can now work from home, Grant Shapps said last night.
The Transport Secretary said the RMT union, which is holding its third strike today, was not achieving the impact it had hoped for.
But he warned that the industrial action was still hurting small businesses, with some pubs losing half their takings.
Mr Shapps added: ‘While their action is hitting some people at the worst possible time, this week has also shown that overall rail strikes are not as effective a tool for the unions as they once were.
The Transport Secretary said the RMT union, which is holding its third strike today, was not achieving the impact it had hoped for
‘Despite what the RMT may claim, we have not seen the level of overcrowding on buses or heavy congestion on roads some feared because the world has changed and many more people can now work from home.
‘We also haven’t seen freight impacted in the way they may have hoped – with 68 per cent more services running than had been anticipated for yesterday.’
Just a fifth of services will run today and half of lines will be closed as 40,000 RMT members hit the picket lines again.
More than 90 per cent of office workers in London stayed at home on the first day of strikes which mitigated the fallout at stations. But a bumper weekend of gigs and sport could cause chaos in the capital today.
The Rolling Stones are at Hyde Park and Ed Sheeran is at Wembley, with gigs by Billie Eilish, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and comedian Joe Lycett also taking place. There are also events around the country for Armed Forces Day and a cricket Test in Leeds.
Just a fifth of services will run today and half of lines will be closed as 40,000 RMT members hit the picket lines again. More than 90 per cent of office workers in London stayed at home on the first day of strikes which mitigated the fallout at stations
Those going to see Sheeran at Wembley are braced for ‘carnage’ but many are determined to get to an event they booked during lockdown. Others looking to drive to the gig faced rip-off prices with all official car parks sold out and one fan being charged more than £400 to use a driveway.
Trains will primarily be restricted to main lines, but even those will be open only between 7.30am and 6.30pm, with the disruption flowing into tomorrow.
Steve Montgomery of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, said: ‘While we are doing our best to minimise disruption to passengers, our advice is to only travel if it is necessary, and if you are going to travel, please plan ahead.’
Talks between the RMT, Network Rail and 13 train operating companies continued yesterday. Sources said they were ‘inching closer’ to a deal but the RMT was digging in its heels over demands for working practices to be modernised. The union wants pay rises of around 7 per cent for workers but has been offered 3 per cent.
Yesterday the Mail revealed that the TSSA rail union could team up with the RMT to target the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham at the end of July and early August. Visitors to the Games could also be greeted by piles of rubbish after trade unions began balloting bin men on strikes.
Teenagers could face delays in receiving their GCSE and A-level results because staff at England’s largest exam board are being balloted over strike action.
Around 160 AQA employees, including dozens who arrange the setting of exam papers and issuing of results, could walk out this summer. They are being balloted for strike action by Unison.
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