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Train strikes: Passengers face second day of industrial action

Train strikes: Passengers face second day of industrial action

Rail passengers are facing further disruption this weekend as members of the RMT union walk out on strike.
Stoppages are taking place across 14 companies on Saturday following industrial action by Aslef train drivers on Friday.

Both unions have denied accusations the strikes are designed to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest final.

The government claims the RMT has turned down a "fair and reasonable" pay offer.

But Mick Lynch, secretary general of the RMT, has denied this.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents 14 train companies, offered rail workers a backdated pay rise of 5% for 2022.

A second year's pay rise was dependent on reforms being negotiated.

Mr Lynch said the RDG had "torpedoed" the talks aimed at ending the long-running dispute because agreement would have prohibited further industrial action.

Merseyrail said it was unaffected by the latest strikes.

But other train companies have warned there will be "little or no services" across large areas of the network and said passengers should be prepared for disruption on the days immediately after the strikes.

Rail users should plan ahead and check services before travel, with fewer services running there would be "wide variations", the RDG said.

"It is likely evening services on some lines will be affected on the days before each strike, so passengers should also check the last train times on the evenings before strike days and the mornings following strikes," it added.

Meanwhile, train drivers with Aslef have rejected a two-year offer which would see members receive a backdated pay rise of 4% for 2022 and a 4% increase this year.

However, there has been some resolution between the rail industry and the unions. A revised offer from Network Rail, which owns and operates the UK's railway infrastructure, was accepted by RMT members on 20 March, ending that separate dispute.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has called on the RMT to allow its members to have a vote on the offer that the RDG has put forward.

Mr Harper also said the strikes were "cynically targeting the Eurovision Song Contest".

"The reason that's so appalling is because that's not our song contest. We're hosting it for Ukraine," he added.

However, National Express said it had responded to the planned rail strikes by adding 33 extra services to Liverpool to "help fans get to Eurovision".

"We've seen a huge demand for our services...with advance tickets selling out quickly," station manager Andy Leonard said.

After this weekend's stoppages the rail network will suffer further disruption when Aslef drivers strike again on 31 May and 3 June, the day of the FA Cup final.
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