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Mick Lynch and his RMT union continued their seemingly endless strike action this morning – much to the delight of workers allowed to work from home.
Train passengers will face travel disruptions for the fourth consecutive day on Friday as thousands of workers wage union actions over a dispute over jobs, wages and working conditions.
Services will again be paralyzed by the strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 14 train operators.
The action will last 48 hours and follows a stoppage on Thursday by train drivers from the Asle union, which caused widespread disruption.
A man walks past an entrance to London Bridge Station, which has been closed to the public this morning during an RMT union strike
The now well-known images of an empty train station during the strikes ensure that people no longer use the trains
But the disruption was embraced by office workers who were told to WFH by their bosses.
On Twitter, one worker said, “I love strike days. Means I go to WFH all week and save money. Because of the strikes and the unreliable service that is constantly postponed or cancelled.’
Another suggested, “WFH all week thanks to train strike.”
And another chimed in: “WFH all week, annoying but the strikes have had little effect on many office types since the ability to be flexible is here.
The strikes left people on Twitter excited about the prospect of working from home this week
Abandoned platforms at Paddington Station in London on day four of this week’s rail strike
“The unions know this and know that their strikes have no effect, but they cannot back down and cannot go too deep into it.”
Aslef’s 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 machinists wanted to go “harder and faster” after years of not getting a raise.
He accused railway employers and the government of “playing games” instead of making serious efforts to resolve the pay dispute.
People hastily change their travel plans as they find the gates at Victoria Station locked due to Aslef’s ongoing strike action yesterday
RMT union secretary Mick Lynch was seen laughing in his seat on ITV’s Lorraine on Tuesday
“The situation is getting worse and my members now want to go harder and faster because of the lack of progress,” he said.
Only about 20% of normal services run on Fridays and trains start later and end earlier.
The strike ends a week of union action on the railways, with the dispute deadlocked.
Talks are expected to be held early next week, but unions continue to accuse the government of blocking a deal.
The ministers deny interfering in the negotiations.
People walk in front of the disused departure boards at Euston station during Thursday’s Aslef strike
Picket lines will be placed outside the stations again on Friday.
Unions, including those of railway workers, reacted with fury to a government announcement on Thursday about proposed legislation to guarantee minimum levels of service during strikes in industries, including railways.
Officials said any laws would be unworkable and could lead to even more union action in response to the controversial move.
It was revealed yesterday that striking machinists have enjoyed hefty pay rises of up to 62 percent in recent years – more than double the rate of inflation over the same period.
Industry figures show that since 2012, the average driver’s salary has increased by more than a third – 34 percent.
But the highest increases among 15 train operators covering most of the country were 55 percent and 62 percent.
By comparison, consumer price index inflation over the decade is about 27 percent.
It means the average driver salary is now £60,055.
Aslef has not yet been offered a formal salary, but could receive one next week.
The RMT, meanwhile, has rejected Network Rail’s offer of a 9 per cent increase over two years, worth up to 14 per cent for the lowest paid.
It has rejected a separate 8 percent offer from 14 train companies also involved in the dispute.
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