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Passengers are being warned of rail disruption for one more day on Friday after the strike action.
Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) members in 14 train operating companies walked out on Thursday in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
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Trains started later than usual and ended early at around 6.30pm, affecting operators including Crosscountry, Great Western Railway, Northern and Southeastern.
Across the UK, up to half of normal weekday services were expected to run, but some areas had no trains all day.
Disruption is likely to continue on Friday as many trains will not be at normal depots overnight. The services are expected to resume later than normal once the train operating staff returns to work. Passengers are being urged to check before travelling.
Further strike action is scheduled for March 18, 30 and April 1.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the dispute is “stuck in a deadlock” because the latest proposal is “underfunded”.
He said: “The government supports train operating companies and gives them their mandate.
“They have come up with a salary offer which is 5 per cent for the last year and 4 per cent for the coming year, which is much less than the rate of inflation.
“But they have said that all wage increases as they are – no matter what amount to cuts – must be funded by changes in the working conditions of our members.”
Mr Lynch called it a “self-funded wage increase” which has put the union at “impasse” without “moving forward”.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, claimed that the RMT had “blocked the chance to resolve this dispute” by not putting the latest proposal to a vote of its members.
Steve Montgomery, who is president of RDG, said the new round of strikes was another inconvenience for commuters who already had “months of disruption”.
“They will also ask why the RMT leadership blocked an opportunity to resolve this dispute by refusing to give its members – many of whom would have benefited from the 13 per cent increase – a say over their own deal,” They said.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport urged the RMT to “put the Rail Distribution Group’s very fair proposal to a democratic vote of their members”.
Mr Montgomery said: “Unfortunately, while we will remove all stops to run as many trains as possible, services will be reduced across many parts of the rail network on all four days of the strike, so our advice is to Check before you travel.”
The rail strikes come after a week of industrial action.
Nearly half a million teachers, lecturers, junior doctors, civil servants, London Underground drivers, BBC journalists and Amazon workers walked off the job on Wednesday in one of the biggest days of industrial action in a decade.
Commuters warned of rail disruption for a second day following strikes
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