Some rail lines will be closed if strike goes ahead
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Some East Anglian rail routes are likely to be left without any trains on strike days if threatened industrial action goes ahead at the end of this month, Greater Anglia has warned.
But exact details are not expected to emerge until next week when train operating companies plan to publish emergency timetables to show which trains can operate.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) is co-ordinating strikes across most train operating companies and Network Rail on June 21, 23 and 25.
Its members will all be called out on strike - the strike by Network Rail signalling staff will cause most disruption to the network - and nationally it is estimated that only about 20% of rail services will be able to operate.
Greater Anglia is now trying to draw up plans to run some services on the strike days - but is not yet known when these can be finalised because it is such a complex issue involving many companies as well as Network Rail.
A spokesman said that as soon as the plans were finalised the details would be published - but travel would be very difficult on strike days with travel on lines that stay open likely to be confined to 7am and 7pm.
He said: "What is clear is that if the strikes go ahead they will be very disruptive and it is likely that on those routes where we can still operate trains it would be a heavily reduced service, probably only operating for a limited period during the day.
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"It is likely that on some routes there would be no services at all."
Talks between Network Rail and the RMT are expected to be held in the next few days, sources told the PA news agency.
No direct talks are planned between the union and train operators, although the RMT said it is open to “meaningful negotiations” to try to resolve the disputes.
The disputes are over pay, jobs and pensions, with the union complaining that railway staff who worked through the pandemic are facing job cuts, a pay freeze and attacks on employment conditions.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1% and rising."
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said the organisation is “doing everything we can” to avoid the strike action.
“There are two weeks until the first strike is planned. We will use this time to keep talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that strike action would cause all involved,” he said.
Rail Delivery Group chairman Steve Montgomery - who represents all rail companies - said the strikes are “needless and damaging”.