Today’s railway stations are much calmer than usual as thousands of railway workers went on strike for the second time in a week, disrupting services.
Edinburgh Waverley, London Easton, London Paddington and Liverpool Lime Street are among the stations with fewer passengers than on a typical Saturday.
Broadband provider Virgin Media O2 said it recorded a 10 percent increase in usage on Tuesday, the first day of the strike, indicating that “millions more are working from home” this week.
Nearly 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and 13 train operators in Network Rail walked out again on Thursday after failing to resolve a bitter dispute over salaries, jobs and conditions.
Only one train out of five is running, and they are mostly confined to the main lines, with about half the network closed.
Services start at 7:30 a.m. with normal delays and will close at 6:30 p.m.
Members of the Aslif Drivers’ Union in Greater England are also on strike on Thursday over a separate pay dispute.
The company is advising passengers to travel only if necessary.
Meanwhile, the government announced plans to change the law so that businesses could fill staff gaps during industrial operations to provide skilled agency workers.
The ministers pointed out that, under current trade union rules, employment agencies are prohibited from providing temporary agency workers for strikers, saying it could have “disproportionate effects”.
The government said the legislation would repeal “burdensome” legal restrictions, giving companies affected by the strike action the freedom to hire business businesses that, on short notice, hire skilled, temporary agencies. Staff can provide.
Network Rail welcomed the move, but Labor and unions called it a “recipe for disaster.”
Many major stations were quieter than usual on Thursday morning, including Edinburgh Waverley, London Easton, London Paddington and Liverpool Lime Street.
But a crowd of holidaymakers was worried about missing their flights as the train was delayed and they were stranded at London’s Liverpool Street station.
We will continue our industrial campaign until we find a negotiated settlement that provides job security and increases the salaries of our members, which is offset by the rising cost of living. Deals
The Stansted Express usually departs twice a hour from the UK’s third busiest station, but the strike has reduced it to one.
One man, who was returning to Sofia in Bulgaria after three days in London, complained that the experience was “stressful”.
Asked how long he would wait, the man – who had been stuck at the station for half an hour – said: “I don’t know, I’m just looking at the board, I hope it won’t take long.”
Frank Bird, senior network planner for National Highways, said Thursday morning traffic flow on motorways and major A roads was “remarkably good.”
“The shape of the network is such that the amount of traffic is low,” he told the PA news agency.
“If you’re going in and out of town and city centers, they’re a little too busy.”
He added: “Two years later (from the epidemic) we have learned to work in different ways, people are working from home, so this is a very different picture.
“People are still able to keep working even though the rail controversy continues.”
Location technology firm TomTom said the congestion on the streets in London at 9am was 83 per cent, up from 75 per cent at the same time last week.
But traffic levels decreased or only slightly increased in a number of other cities, such as Glasgow (40% to 36%), Liverpool (49% to 47%), Manchester (64%). 66%) and Newcastle (49% to 50%).
The figures reflect the proportion of extra time required for travel compared to free flow conditions.
Steve Montgomery, head of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, was asked why rail workers were not being guaranteed that the reforms would not necessarily lead to redundancy.
He told the BBC Breakfast that it depended on the extent of the reforms, the popularity of voluntary separation schemes and how many workers could be retrained.
He added: “We believe that once we work on reforms, we hope we can accommodate everyone who wants to stay in the organization.
“So, we just need to go through the process and see how many people are left, and hopefully not necessarily make anyone useless.”
The RMT accused Transport Secretary Grant Ships of “ruining” the talks by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw the “threat to our 2,900 members” letter.
Mr Shepps countered that the RMT claim was a “lie”.
Kevin Groz, Network Rail’s head of media, told the Times Radio Breakfast: “It’s about negotiating and taking, and at the moment RMT is just take, take, take.
“We are talking about modernizing the ways of working that are old.”
Eddie Dempsey, RMT’s assistant general secretary, said in a statement that “the people are behind us.”
He told the PA news agency: “They think it is a scandal that billions of rupees are being taken out of our industry while workers are being punished.
“Teachers, they are facing the crisis of cost of living, (also) posts, telecom workers, health workers.
“We think there will be more demands for wage increases in the economy and we think that’s right.
“This is a time when wages in the UK have skyrocketed. Wages have been falling for 30 years and corporate profits have skyrocketed.