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Train strikes latest LIVE: London commuters suffer fourth straight day of chaos as RMT launches new 48-hour walkout


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ail passengers are facing a fourth consecutive day of travel disruption on Friday as RMT union members launch a fresh 48-hour walkout.

The strike at Network Rail and 14 train operators means only around 20% of normal services will run with trains starting later and finishing earlier.

The walkout is again hitting key TfL services in London with severe delays to Elizabeth Line trains running between Paddington and Reading and Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

The London Overground, Circle line and Hammersmith & City line are also severely affected while the Bakerloo line is part suspended.

The action follows a stoppage on Thursday by train drivers in the Aslef union which caused widespread disruption.

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Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan has warned it was “inevitable” that further strikes would be held unless the deadlock was broken.

He suggested strikes could escalate, saying train drivers wanted to go “harder and faster” after years of not receiving a pay rise.

Talks are expected to be held early next week, but unions continue to accuse the Government of blocking a deal.

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PM has invited union leaders for ‘grown-up conversation about what’s affordable’

Rishi Sunak says he has invited union leaders for what he hopes will be a “grown-up” conversation on Monday about what is affordable.

Speaking to broadcasters on a visit to a school in south-west London, the Prime Minister was asked if proposed legislation could see nurses sacked for striking, and if it was his ambition to go further and make some more strikes in critical services illegal.

“Yesterday the Government wrote to all union leaders inviting them in for talks on Monday,” Mr Sunak said.

“We incredibly value the important work that our public-sector workers do, especially our nurses, and we want to have an honest, grown-up conversation about what’s affordable, what’s responsible for the country.

“Those invitations have gone out and I’m hopeful that those meetings can happen on Monday so we can have a productive conversation and find a way through this.”

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Severe delays across a number of Underground services

Severe delays are now affecting the Circle, Elizabeth and Hammersmith & City lines, due to the knock-on effects of the strike.

There are minor delays on the Central line too, while a faulty train at Gospel Oak is causing severe delays on the London Overground between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction and Richmond.

For live service updates, visit the TfL website.

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Public support for strikes has ‘taken a dent’ but is ‘very high’ says union boss

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has said that public support for their strike action has “taken a dent” but is still “very good”.

“We’ve had four weeks of continuous action in this latest phase,” he said on Friday morning.

“We’ve taken a little bit of a dent in public opinion, but it’s very high. It’s up in the mid-40s – 45 per cent I think is the latest poll – that’s a very good score in the middle of industrial action.

“We expect that to come back as people get over this latest phase.

“Our numbers are at record highs for an industrial action campaign. As they are for the nurses, and the teachers, and the posties, and everyone else.”

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Mick Lynch: Government ‘incompetent and incapable of understanding the railway’

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has accused the Government of being “incompetent” and “incapable” of understanding and running the railway service.

“The railway service is in desperate straits,” Mr Lynch said from the picket line at Euston Station in London on Friday.

“The companies that run it and the Government that oversees it have shown that they are incompetent and incapable of understanding the railway and running the railway on a daily basis.

RMT boss Mick Lynch speaking outside Euston on Friday

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“When we are not on strike, the passengers are told in this station and every other station, that due to shortages of staff trains aren’t running.

“At the same time, they say to me at the negotiating table that they want to make thousands of your members redundant.

“So there is something desperately wrong with the way this railway is being run. But there is something desperately wrong with the way all public services are being run, and that’s why the workforce in these services are in rebellion now.

“The Government has got to get a grip and come to the table with all these disputes, and say ‘we want to work with you and settle these disputes and get a deal’.”

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Pictures show striking RMT members at the picket line outside Euston station

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New industrial action laws ‘a threat to sack unionists’, says Lynch

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has said the Government’s new industrial action legislation is a threat to sack union members if they refuse to go to work.

Speaking from the picket line at Euston Station on Friday, Mr Lynch told BBC Breakfast: “What they are saying is that they will sack our members if they don’t go to work.

“They are going to conscript our members.

“We have to name who will go to work, and if those members in a lawful manner don’t want to cross our picket line they can be dismissed individually and the union can be fined.

“So we will have to see what the law says.”

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Mick Lynch: Laws to crack down on strikes are ‘a symbol the Government are losing’

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has described laws to block industrial action as a “symbol” that the Government is “losing the argument”.

Speaking from the picket line at Euston Station on Friday, Mr Lynch told BBC Breakfast: “It is really important in a democratic society that we have free trade unions that represent working people and represent the biggest democratic force in this country.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT)

/ PA

“There is no bigger movement than the trade union movement, six or seven million people in it.”

He said of the new laws: “What this is a symbol of is that the Government are losing the argument.

“They’ve lost the argument on austerity and pay, and the state of our national public services.

“And instead they want to close that argument down by closing down the unions and stopping us from campaigning against poverty.”

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String of strikes affecting other sectors yet to come in January

January is set to be hit by a wave of strikes affecting other sectors – with teachers, nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff among those also staging walkouts.

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District line running again but with minor delays

The District line is running again after being part-suspended earlier this morning.

There are minor delays between Turnham Green and Richmond due to the strike action, says TfL’s website, but a good service on the rest of the line.

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Rail services unreliable even when there’s no strike, says Labour MP

Train services are unreliable even when there is not a strike, a shadow Treasury minister has said.

Asked on BBC Breakfast how Labour would ensure minimum service levels during strikes, Pat McFadden said: “Even when there’s not a strike the trains are unreliable right now and legislation like [the Government is planning] will do nothing to improve that.

“The way to guarantee good services is to negotiate to resolve the disputes. Yes, implement reforms and changes that are needed in various sectors. Do that by striking a deal, not by striking a pose.”

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