Rail strike: Commuters must stay the course, says Boris Johnsonon June 21, 2022 at 10:39 am

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Rail workers have gone on strike, affecting millions of commuters in England, Scotland and Wales.

Waterloo StationImage source, Getty Images

Boris Johnson has said commuters must “stay the course” during the rail strikes, as he urged rail bosses and unions to agree on a deal.

The prime minister, speaking to the Cabinet, said strikes were causing “significant disruption”.

Union RMT has called the strikes over three days due to “aggressive” cuts to jobs, conditions, pay and pensions.

The strikes are set to cause widespread disruption to millions of commuters across England, Wales and Scotland.

Passengers are being advised not to travel unless it is essential, as around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out.

Only 20% of trains are running after staff walked out at midnight and many areas have no trains at all.

Trains that do run are starting later and finishing much earlier than usual, operating between 07:30 and 18:30.

Strikes are set to continue on Thursday and Saturday.

Boris Johnson

Image source, Getty Images

Mr Johnson – speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday – said without modernisation to the industry, train operators risked going bust and passengers faced ever-increasing prices.

He said: “We need, I’m afraid, everybody – and I say this to the country as a whole – we need to get ready to stay the course.

“To stay the course, because these reforms, these improvements in the way we run our railways are in the interests of the travelling public, they will help to cut costs for fare-payers up and down the country.”

The prime minister said the strike was “so wrong and so unnecessary” and was making it “more difficult for people to get to work, risking people’s appointments, making it more difficult for kids to sit exams – all sorts of unnecessary aggravations”.

Earlier, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the BBC there was a “pay offer on the table, the door is open”.

RMT boss Mick Lynch apologised for the disruption but accused the government, which owns Network Rail, of actively preventing employers and the union from reaching a settlement. Ministers have denied they played a role in talks.

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