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NATIONAL RAIL STRIKES: Solidarity and criticism for RMT union from North East passengers as millions see travel plans affected

"Get angry, but at the right people” or “we all deserve a pay rise but at what cost?”

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 2:46 pm

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Families across the North East have been showing their support, and sharing criticism, as thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union took part in the biggest rail strike for around 30 years.

Today (Tuesday, June 21) marks the first of a three-day walk-out, with industrial action also planned later this week on Thursday (June 23) and Saturday (June 25).

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Staff from Network Rail, London Underground and other train operators are taking part in the strike, which the union says comes in response to the impact of "transport austerity”.

Factors include proposed job cuts, pay freezes and “attacks” on terms, working conditions and practices.

Some lines and stations across the UK’s rail network remain closed on Tuesday with only a percentage of trains running at reduced hours.

Meanwhile, commuters hoping to travel by car instead of train faced congestion up and down the country.

A rail strike poster, pictured in London on Tuesday, June 21, as the biggest rail strike in more than 30 years hits the UK. Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.

An RMT statement from general secretary Mick Lynch, released on Monday (June 20), said: “We again call on our members to stand firm, support the action, mount the pickets and demonstrate their willingness to fight for workplace justice.”

The union added that its members support “a square deal for all working people” as the cost-of-living crisis worsens.

Readers have had their say as the industrial action began on Tuesday.

‘Actions speak louder than words’

The biggest rail strikes in 30 years started on Monday night with trains cancelled across the UK for much of the week. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

Katherine Yarrow: “Solidarity with the striking workers. Nothing was ever won by sitting back and capitulating.”

Dave Clark: “It is only right, and the Government should, as a high wage-promoting party, also support this.”

Mandi Adams: Cost of living goes up and up but never the wages.”

Philip Whitfield: “Solidarity with the rail workers. If people are inconvenienced by these strikes, remember it’s not the unions who have caused them.”

Chris Barnes: “The rich get richer while the working people pay for it all.”

Davy Sykes: “Without the unions we would still be queuing up outside factory gates hoping to get a day’s work for very little wages.”

Adrian Paul: “All our rights as workers are being eroded. Some more than others. Actions speak louder than words.”

Margaret Levy: “Every worker in Britain deserves to be able to go to work full stop. They also deserve to be paid decent wages and to have their health and safety safeguarded.”

Dean Marshall: “It’s not the rail workers who have allowed the energy companies/fuel companies to boost their profits by millions, it’s not the rail workers who chose to scrap the energy price cap, it’s not the rail workers [who] increased taxes. Get angry but at the right people ...”

‘Money does not grow on trees’

George Naylor: “If companies have to pay higher wages a lot of jobs will be lost.”

Dougie Moffat: “Then prices have to go up to pay for pay rise. Back to square one.”

Mandy Robson: “How will they help the people who can’t get to work or have had hospital appointments postponed.”

Dave Rutherford: “Not a problem with giving EVERYONE a substantial pay rise but do you think prices will just stay the same? How does company A pay for those increases? By putting up their prices!”

Mark Nicholson: “The pay rises will have to be paid for by companies increasing prices. This will further fuel the cost of living crisis.”

Kelvin Marsh: “Unions and Labour need to realise money does not grow on trees.”

Chris Wright: “Nationalise the railways and public transport, any profits are then used to reduce ticket prices, improve workers conditions and improve the services.”

Robert Telford: “The whole country is on it knees after Covid, the Government kept business afloat with fellow money! These train strikes are going to cause mass disruption to the whole country! Yes we all deserve a pay rise but at what cost?”