North East UK news North East commuters endure huge delays as many services ground to a halt PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Rail strikes saw services shut down by 6.30pm amid one of the biggest industrial disputes for decades
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Commuters across the North East faced massive delays to their journeys as rail staff walked out in a dispute over pay and potential job losses. The first day of a series of rail strikes saw train services hugely-disrupted, MPs turn up on the picket lines around the North East, and a mixed reaction from travellers in the region on Tuesday. The industrial action - led by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union - has been called amid a row over jobs, pay and conditions. Striking workers told ChronicleLive how the deal proposed by industry bosses would "dehumanise" the UK's railways. Read more: 'We're not going to stand for it' - RMT workers striking on Newcastle Central Station picket line determined to win pay and jobs row "They plan to cut thousands of jobs across the industry, including the maintenance - the people who look after the track and inspect the trains - who are doing a very important critical-safety job and they are planning on cutting back on that," said RMT national executive committee North East rep David King on the picket line in Newcastle. "They are planning on also closing all of the booking offices. There are going to be absolutely massive job cuts across the industry." He was joined on the picket line by North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll during the day outside Newcastle Central Station. He said: "What I want to see is Britain be a high-wage economy with good public services, which is exactly what the RMT is fighting for. When it gets to the point where people are giving up their pay to fight for industry, something's already gone wrong." The first day of RMT industrial action saw picket lines outside of Newcastle Central Station (Image: Newcastle Chronicle) The mayor said he had been "warning ministers for two years" that the rail system was "creaking" and he said they should have acted. He added: "The fact that the Government hasn't come to the table despite the fact this has been brewing for years is the problem." The impact of the strikes will continue to be felt throughout the week. On Wednesday, because night shift staff tonight are also taking part in the industrial action, just 60% of train services are likely to be running. Then further planned strikes are set for Thursday and Saturday, each also hitting the following day's timetables. Travellers at Central Station showed support for the striking workers, though some spoke of disruption to their daily lives. George Charlton, 54 from South Shields, was travelling to London for work in the morning and said: "I wasn't anxious about setting off. I am totally in support of the strike." Academic publishing worker Ed Robinson also travelled - he said he had been surprised by the lack of disruption. "It was quite busy at Durham station but you wouldn't have known there is a strike on," he said. "I know there is serious disruption [across the service] but everything seemed OK there. I am pro-strike because I think the staff are underpaid and overworked. It does make life a little bit difficult, but it is for the greater good." Read More Related Articles Train journey planner website crashes as millions suffer travel chaos and surge in road traffic amid rail strike Read More Related Articles Just 60 per cent of trains likely to be running on Wednesday after strikes Jessica W, a 22-year-old sales exec for Revolution Bars, said she had had to change plans as she heads on a work trip to Venice. "I was originally going to get the train to Manchester Airport but because of the strike, my friend is going to pick me up from the station and drive me down," she said.
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. "I know there has been a lot of disruption [and] I know people are angry at the Government for not doing anything to stop the strike [But] am in support of it. I think it is understandable. There is obviously something going wrong somewhere [for workers to strike.]" But plant pathology Masters student Munjabordrain Dopl said his research had been disrupted by the need to get an earlier train to Manchester Airport, before flying to Cameroon to attend his father's memorial ceremony.
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"It's really affecting me," he said. "In a laboratory you have to respect the schedule, and I was supposed to be in the lab now and getting the train at 1pm. Because of this I've had to abandon my research and get an early train." North East MPs Kate Osborne and Ian Lavery were among those to join picket lines, too. Jarrow MP Ms Osborne - a frontbencher with a shadow ministerial role under Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, defied instructions not to appear with striking workers. It's understood there is a possibility of the Labour Party taking disciplinary action. Ahead of the weekend, Gateshead-based Stag and Hen Party organising firm Last Night of Freedom, said the strikes are having a major impact on their customers. Slamming both the Government and union leaders, managing director Matt Mavir said: "After two years of lockdowns with Covid, this should be the best summer ever, but this strike risks derailing everyone’s weekend plans."
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Why rail workers are on strike and what the RMT has been offered to settle dispute
The industrial action saw just a fifth of trains running on Tuesday and half of lines closed. Around 40,000 RMT members across 13 train operators and Network Rail walked out. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast there would be meetings of the Cobra emergency committee over the issue. He said he does not meet unions and described calls for him to join them round the negotiating table as a "stunt". He went on: "I don't typically meet with them because it's a red herring. If I thought there was a one in a million chance it would make a slightest bit of difference, of course I would do so at the drop of the hat." RMT general secretary Mick Lynch warned that the dispute could continue for months, adding: "It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4 billion of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute." The Department for Transport disputed Mr Lynch's clams, adding that it has cost taxpayers about £600 per household to keep the railway running during the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a meeting of the Cabinet that reforms are vital for the rail industry and passengers. He said: "I say this to the country as a whole, we need to get ready to stay the course. To stay the course, because these reforms, these improvements in the way we run our railways are in the interests of the travelling public, they will help to cut costs for farepayers up and down the country." READ NEXT: What Newcastle train passengers have to say on RMT rail strike action that's causing travel chaos Huge surge in traffic expected on roads as rail passengers switch to cars during strikes National rail strike June 2022: Train refund, cancellation and journey change options Barristers to go on strike with court walkouts to begin from next week National rail strike June 2022: Train refund, cancellation and journey change options
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