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Rail workers announce bank holiday weekend strike

Credit: PA

Rail workers on First Great Western are to stage a series of strikes, including over the August Bank Holiday weekend, in a row over new trains, the RMT union announced.

The union is in dispute over the introduction of new Hitachi inter city trains, saying the role of guards will be reduced and buffet cars' facilities removed.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, including drivers and guards, will walk out for 24 hours on August 23 and for 72 hours from August 29.

Other union members who work on maintenance will strike on August 29 and 31.

The strikes are due to take place:

  • All day on Sunday 23rd August
  • Midnight on Saturday 29th August until midnight on Monday 31st August

Despite strenuous efforts by our negotiators we have not been able to secure the kind of progress required in the key areas of jobs, services and safety for us to reach an agreement.

As a result we have no option but to put further action on.

The fact remains that if it is good enough for East Coast, using the same trains, to meet the very basic assurances sought by this trade union then it is good enough for First Great Western as well.

– RMT general secretary Mick Cash

Tube returns to 'normal' service as rail strike continues

Tube strikes put additional pressure on bus services in London. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

London Underground is set to resume a "normal" service today after strikes caused widespread disruption in the capital.

In a short message posted online, Transport for London managing director Mike Brown apologised for Thursday's "difficult day".

However, First Great Western trains will still be disrupted as a 48-hour strike continues.

Among the services affected will be trains between south Wales and London, which will run every hour instead of half-hour.

Services to Devon and Cornwall will also remain reduced from once an hour to once every two hours.

More information can be found on the First Great Western website.

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  1. West Country (E)

Trains running during strike 'dangerously overcrowded'

The RMT union have criticised the trains running during the strike. Credit: ITV News

A rail union have called the train services running during the current 48-hour strike unsafe.

The RMT union, whose members are striking in a dispute over job losses, safety and buffet cars on new trains, say First Great Western's current emergency "skeleton service", is "dangerously overcrowded" and staffed by people without the right training.

The union say they will be taking this up formally.

First Great Western denied that the trains are overcrowded, and told us staff working on them are fully trained.

"We've got fully competent managers working on these trains who would normally manage the people who are striking.

"Our utmost priority is keeping people moving safely and as quickly as possible."

"Our approach to keeping trains moving during this process has been sanctioned by the Rail Safety Standards Board - we would not be able to run these services if it hadn't been."

– First Great Western
First Great Western staff picketing Bristol Temple Meads station. Credit: ITV News

The 48-hour strike started on Wednesday night and is set to end at 6.30pm on Friday evening. Staff have been out picketing stations today.

"The anger of staff is clear as the action bites and it is now down to the company to recognise that and get back round the table to address the serious issues at the core of this dispute."

– RMT General Secretary Mick Cash

First Great Western say 10% fewer staff have walked out than they were expecting; however the strike has still affected almost 40% of their services.

  1. London

London Underground contacts ACAS for fresh talks over Tube dispute

London Underground bosses have contacted the conciliation service to help arrange fresh talks over the Tube pay dispute, which closed down the network today, causing travel misery for millions.

People queue for buses inside Liverpool Street Station Credit: PA

ACAS was asked to help get the two sides back around the negotiating table to avoid a repeat of the 24-hour strike.

TfL says the bus network is performing well, but traffic is heavy, and the rush hour was starting early for the second day in a row.

We thank Londoners for their patience today as we work hard to help them make their journeys. It's been very busy, particularly on the bus and road networks, although many people are travelling outside peak hours and walking and cycling. Our staff are working hard to help by providing maps, travel advice and other information. We are, as we always have been, ready to talk at any time to sort out this dispute.

– Steve Griffiths, London Underground

Commuters 'absolute carnage' during tube strike

Commuters have described "absolute carnage" as they attempted to get to work this morning while all Tube services across London were suspended.

Commuters at Upminster Station this morning. Credit: PA

One traveller said police had been called to a bus stop after the driver refused to move because the vehicle was so full.

A spokesman from the Metropolitan Police said that while he was not aware of any reports, it would "make sense" with such large crowds in different areas today for them to factor any disruption into their policing.

Others said the roads were "mental" and many posted online details of their preparation to get to work.

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