The PM will accuse striking unions of “harming the people they claim to be helping” as the biggest rail strike in a generation begins today.
Passengers are already faced with chaos this morning as reports say around 80% of services have been canceled and half of lines have been closed entirely due to the strike – which will also affect the London Underground.
Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday, but disruption is expected throughout the week as traffic backs up in London this morning.
Images also showed empty train stations and long waits to board buses in the capital.
Boris Johnson is expected to claim later in the day that he wants to see a “reasonable compromise” – despite Labor having accused him of fueling the division he has caused.
But yesterday’s last-minute talks failed to resolve the bitter dispute over wages, jobs and working conditions, as all sides blamed each other for the lack of progress.
Much of the UK will not have passenger trains throughout the day including most of Scotland and Wales, all of Cornwall and Dorset and places like Chester, Hull, Lincoln and Worcester.
Service will be mainly limited to main lines, but again these will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Thousands of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members at Network Rail and 13 train operators are leaving today, Thursday and Saturday.
Those operators not involved in the industrial action will continue to suffer disruption as Network Rail signalers go on strike.
Workers on the subway will also leave on Tuesday.
But the strikes will have a major impact on commuters throughout the week.
Pupils and parents are being urged to create an alternative route to school plan for Baccalaureate and GCSE exams on Tuesday and Thursday.
Drivers are warned to expect traffic to increase as rail passengers switch to road transport.
The AA predicted that the roads most affected will likely be major freeways and rural and suburban areas.
The healthcare system also warned that it would be severely affected.
About half of the trains carrying revelers to Glastonbury Festival between Wednesday and Friday are cancelled.
The prime minister is expected to say ahead of a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that unions are “stripping out commuters who ultimately support rail workers’ jobs” while also hitting businesses across the country.
He will say: “Excessive pay demands will also make it incredibly difficult to cope with the current challenges facing families around the world with the rising cost of living.
“Now is the time to find a sensible compromise for the good of the British people and rail workers.”
Mick Lynch, general secretary of RMT, said Network Rail had offered a 2% pay rise with the possibility of a further 1% later, subject to efficiency savings.
But he told BBC’s Newsnight that Network Rail “escalated” the dispute during Monday’s talks, saying: “They wrote me a letter saying there will be redundancies from July 1st.
“Rather than trying to resolve this dispute, they escalated it by giving us a formal notice of dismissal among our Network Rail members.”
He warned the dispute could drag on for months, adding: “It is clear that the Tory Government, having cut £4billion in funding from National Rail and Transport for London, is now actively preventing this dispute from being settled Has.
“In addition to the fee freezes of recent years, the railways have now proposed tariffs that are massively below the relevant inflation rates.
“Companies are also trying to shed thousands of jobs at the behest of the government and have failed to provide a guarantee against redundancies.”
The Department for Transport denied Mr Lynch’s shelling, adding that it has cost taxpayers around £600 per household to keep the railway running during the coronavirus pandemic.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/21/train-strikes-boris-johnson-blasts-unions-as-rail-walkout-begins-16862138/ Train strikes: Boris Johnson blasts unions as train strike begins