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Train and Tube strikes latest LIVE: Rail strikes to go ahead after last ditch talks failed, union says

Train and Tube strikes latest LIVE: Rail strikes to go ahead after last ditch talks failed, union says

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Pictures: RMT general secretary Mick Lynch outside offices in London

Mick Lynch outside the RMT offices in London

/ Rachael Burford

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the union had rejected below inflation pay rises Network Rail.

The industrial action, which starts at midnight, will be the largest transport strikes in more than 30 years with half of Britain’s train lines shut down.

Staff at Network Rail and 13 other train companies will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

It coincides with the fourth network-wide strike this year on the London Underground, which is expected to grind the capital to a halt.

At a press conference outside the RMT offices in London today, Mr Lynch said: “As a result of this transport austerity, the employing companies have taken the following decisions to attack the railway pension scheme and the Transport for London scheme. Diluting benefits making staff work longer, up to 65 years of age and making them poor in retirement while paying increased contributions.”

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RMT confirm strike will go ahead

The RMT confirmed strike action will go ahead after accusing the Government of having “actively prevented a settlement to this dispute”.

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.

“It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4bn of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.

“The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.

“At the behest of the Government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.”

Mr Lynch added: “Faced with such an aggressive agenda of cuts to jobs, conditions, pay and pensions, RMT has no choice but to defend our members industrially to stop this race to the bottom.

“The strikes on Network Rail, the train operators and London Underground will go ahead, and we again call on our members to stand firm, support the action, mount the pickets and demonstrate their willingness to fight for workplace justice.

“The RMT supports the campaign for a square deal for all working people in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, and our current campaign is a part of that more general campaign which means that public services have to be properly funded and all workers properly paid with good conditions.”

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Pupils told to have ‘plan B’ for getting to school for exams amid rail strikes

Pupils and parents have been warned to have a “plan B” for getting to school for their exams during the rail strikes.

The major industrial action, which will see tens of thousands of rail workers walking out for most of this week, will clash with some A-level and GCSE exams set for Tuesday and Thursday.

The Department for Education has said exams are not expected to be rescheduled.

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JQC) – an association for major exam boards in the UK – said some contingency measures are in place for late arrivals.

Pepe Diiasio, head of Wales High School in Rotherham said people should have a “plan B in their back pocket” to get to school.

Mr Diiasio said only a “limited number” of pupils are likely to be affected by the strikes overall but that it will be “serious” for those who are.

“If you’ve got exams this week, just have a plan A and plan B in your back pocket because … it’s been a difficult year already for people taking exams,” he said.

“The last thing they want to worry about now is whether or not they’re actually going to arrive on time.”

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Government to make it legal for employers to hire agency staff to fill in for striking workers

The government is making it legal for employers to hire agency staff to fill in for workers on strike.

This will be done through secondary legislation which will be laid in Parliament later this week and is expected to come in to effect in mid-July.

The measure will repeal regulation from 1973 which makes it illegal for employers to use agency staff specifically during industrial disputes to do the work of strikers. There will be a vote in Parliament.

Any employer – public sector as well as private, from schools to councils to the NHS – will have the “flexibility” to bring in outside staff.

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Rail strikes to go ahead

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

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Grant Shapps says problem is ‘between the union and the employers’

Grant Shapps denied that he is “the problem” in relation to rail strikes.

The transport secretary 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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Rail strikes to cause ‘total misery’ – Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said strikes are going to cause “total misery” for millions of people across the UK.

He also criticised Labour for refusing to condemn the industrial action.

He told Sky News: “It’s quite clear that Labour can’t bring themselves to condemn these strikes which are going to cause total misery tomorrow and throughout the week with people not able to get to work, to hospital appointments, to GCSE and A-level exams.”

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Business minister asks Sadiq Khan to waive driving charges

Business minister Paul Scully has called on rail unions to “talk, not strike”.

He is also urging Sadiq Khan to waive the congestion charge and ULEZ for drivers on days which strikes are planned, in a bid to “keep London open and moving”.

In a tweet, he said: “The rail unions need to talk, not strike. But we will continue to prepare.

“I’m asking the @MayorofLondon to do his bit to keep London open and moving by waiving the Congestion Charge & ULEZ and pausing non-essential roadworks on rail strike days – simple moves that will go far.

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RMT union to give statement at 3.30pm

The RMT union is due to give a statement on the national rail dispute at 3.30pm.

We will be bringing you live updates as they happen.

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‘This strike is particularly frustrating’, says TfL

A Transport for London (TfL) boss has blasted Tuesday’s strike action as “particularly frustrating”.

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, urged union bosses to call off the strike that will impact thousands of commuters using the London Underground.

His statement in full

“I want to apologise to our customers for the impact these strikes will have on their journeys and urge people to avoid travel on all TfL services on 21 June unless absolutely necessary. If they are travelling, they must complete journeys by 18:00, and expect disruption across the network. Walking and cycling is likely to be the best way to get around during this action.

Tube strike

/ PA Wire

“The strike on the London Underground has been timed by the RMT and Unite unions to cause maximum disruption to our millions of customers by coinciding with strike action on national rail services.

“Additional strikes on national rail services next week will also have an impact on London Underground, Overground and Elizabeth line services because of shared track and assets.

“TfL customers are therefore advised to plan ahead and leave more time for their journeys next week.

“This strike is particularly frustrating as it comes so soon after industrial action earlier this month, no changes have been proposed to pensions and nobody has or will lose their job as a result of the proposals we have set out.

“We’re urging the RMT and Unite to call off this strike – my message to them is that it’s not too late to work with us to find a resolution and avoid the huge disruption this action will cause.”

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