Rail strike CHAOS: Misery for thousands as trains still not running despite 'end' of RMT walkout

Rail strike misery: Passengers at London's King's Cross desperately try to catch a train earlier today
Rail strike misery: Passengers at London's King's Cross desperately try to catch a train earlier today

Union accused of deliberately making life difficult for passengers even AFTER strike

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THE RMT was accused of dragging out rail strikes to cause maximum chaos today as passengers complained about a lack of trains even after the latest walkout had supposedly finished.

Crowds of people were left waiting at major train stations across London and beyond amid ongoing disruption despite the 'end' of a rail strike on Tuesday.

Shocking photos showed hundreds of passengers packed inside King’s Cross and Paddington, with some journeys delayed due to the late handover of engineering works.

South Western Railway also apologised to customers after a service from Waterloo to Southampton was postponed due to a “train fault”.

Travel journalist Simon Calder said there was “chaos” at Paddington, with no trains having arrived or departed by late morning, despite industrial action by the RMT union ending at 6am. Furious passengers blasted the unions for dragging out the misery.

Rail strike latest: There was chaos at railway stations across the UK today
Rail strike latest: There was chaos at railway stations across the UK today

Matthew Scott Tweeted: "I've wanted to use them twice this month for a night out with friends. Both times had to cancel because of strikes. It's the public they are punishing, no one else."

David Newman added: "I work in a workshop in London and commute from Essex. I've now set up a work bench, and am working from home. I won't be held to ransom by the rail unions or lose an income for them. People I know are doing the same."

The latest chaos comes as passengers were told to prepare for “significantly disrupted” travel into the new year amid the wave of industrial unrest sweeping across the country.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) at CrossCountry also staged a 24-hour strike as part of a long-running campaign for a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which addresses the rising cost of living.

The 48-hour walkout called by the RMT in a separate dispute over jobs, pay and conditions which began on Christmas Eve ended at 6am but disruption has continued.

The TSSA union believes that walkouts by staff will severely affect services at CrossCountry, which covers large swathes of the country, from Penzance to the Midlands, Wales and northern England through to Scottish cities as far north as Aberdeen.

TSSA members work in roles in customer service management, driver management, training, control, customer communications, safety, timetabling and planning.

Members at Great Western Railway will strike from noon on Wednesday to 11.59am on Thursday, and at West Midlands Trains from noon on Wednesday to noon on Thursday.

RMT boss Mick Lynch said he was only after a 'fair deal' for his workers
RMT boss Mick Lynch said he was only after a 'fair deal' for his workers

Earlier TSSA organising director Nadine Rae said: “Our members at CrossCountry do not want to strike, especially over the Christmas holiday period, but they are sick and tired of being taken for granted.

“They deserve a pay rise to help manage the escalating cost of living, and they rightly demand job security.

“The company, like all the train operators under the control of the Department for Transport, need to face up to the fact that only serious offers which meet our aspirations will end this dispute.”

RMT chief Mick Lynch tried to address victims of the strike directly.

He said: "We are trying to keep society on a fairer footing. "What we're trying to do if lift all the boats so that people who have left behind by the modern world have some hope.

"The trade unions are the hope of working people in this country." He added: "If we don't make some sacrifices, eventually we'll all be worse off.

"So bear with it. I know it's painful. It's painful for our members as well. "Our main desire is to get back to work, but on the basis of a square deal. That's what we're aiming for."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Transport Secretary and rail minister have worked hard to facilitate a fair and reasonable offer, which two unions have accepted, and it is incredibly disappointing that some continue to strike.

“We urge them to step back, reconsider and get back round the table, so we can start 2023 by ending this damaging dispute.”