Train strikes December 2022: Preston union members stage protest outside city's train station
and live on Freeview channel 276
Train services have been severely disrupted after rail workers walked out on the second of a wave of 48-hour strikes. Around half of Britain’s rail lines will be closed all day on Tuesday, with trains in other areas only running between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Dozens of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union held banners and placards highlighting their dispute with Network Rail and 14 train companies over jobs, pay and conditions. Martin McCarrick, Preston branch secretary of the RMT, said the union had been forced into the action by the Government and train companies.
“What the plan is is to close every ticket off in the country,” he told the Post. “That’s what the government want to do; they won’t tell you that but that is what they want to do. They’re also looking to cut 2,500 maintenance workers jobs. These are the Network Rail staff who walk along the railway line and inspect the railway line to make sure it is safe.”
Mr McCarrick also said the union was committed to opposing plans for ‘driver-only’ train, which he said posed a threat to public safety. He added: “Now we’re not opposed to modernisation of the railways but what we are opposed to is mass job cuts and railway ticket office closures which are going to make the railways unsafe. Now this dispute could have ended last week if it wasn’t for government intervention where they put on the table driver only operated trains and that’s exactly what it says it is. Would feel safe on a train with that in operation?”
With further walkouts planned, Network Rail has warned there will be significantly reduced services – with trains more crowded and likely to start later and finish earlier – until January 8. RMT workers at Network Rail will strike from 6pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on December 27, disrupting getaway journeys and maintenance work. The Transport Salaried Staffs Association announced on Tuesday that its members at operator CrossCountry will strike on Boxing Day and December 27. The Office for National Statistics said 417,000 working days were lost to labour disputes in October, which is the highest since November 2011.