Further disruption on rail and bus services as transport strikes continue

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA</span>
Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Travellers are facing a further day of disruption on Saturday as thousands of transport workers go on strike in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Network Rail, several train companies, and bus services in London and parts of Surrey will be hit by industrial action by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT), TSSA and Unite unions which will also affect Sunday morning train services.

Rail services on Saturday will be substantially reduced, with only about a fifth running and half of the lines closed. Trains will only operate between about 7.30am and 6.30pm.

The disruption to bus services in west and south-west London and parts of Surrey is the result of a strike on Friday and Saturday by London bus drivers who are members of Unite, in a separate dispute over pay.

Saturday will be the third consecutive day of industrial action by public transport employees this week.

Mick Lynch, boss of the RMT union, apologised for disruption to the tube caused by strike action on Friday but warned it would not be the last, if the dispute cannot be resolved with negotiations for a new pay deal looming next year.

Lynch said: “We’re very sorry that people are inconvenienced. We are hoping that people have sympathy for us. We’re ordinary men and women that want to do our jobs and provide a service, but when you’re being cut to pieces by an employer, and by the government, you’ve got to make a stand.

“We can’t stand by and watch our conditions be chopped up. So we’ve got to show them that we’re deadly serious about the future of the services across all of TfL, but also across our members’ conditions, because we don’t know what they’re discussing.”

Lynch said the union had been shut out of talks between the government, the Treasury, and the office of the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.

In response to Lynch’s claims, Khan said he and the RMT union were “on the same side here, nobody wants the government to be attaching unreasonable conditions to our deal”.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport accused union leaders of “opting to inflict misery” by disrupting travel.

He said: “It’s clear strikes are not the powerful tool they once were and union chiefs are no longer able to bring the country to a standstill as, unlike them, the world has changed and people simply work from home.

“All these strikes are doing is hurting those people the unions claim to represent, many of whom will again be out of pocket and forced to miss a day’s work.”