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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

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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.

  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.

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