As the most important rail strike in 4 a long time started, the overall secretary of the RMT union attacked what he says are the federal government’s plans for the railway.

Mick Lynch claims ministers plan to shut each ticket workplace in Britain and take away guards from trains.

The rail union boss mentioned: “We can’t return to having guard-less trains, as [former transport secretary] Grant Shapps known as it.

“We can’t settle for the closure of all the ticket places of work in Britain. That’s what’s on the desk. No ticket workplace will exist on the nationwide railway community if Grant Shapps’ plan goes ahead.”

The Department for Transport has insisted, “No final decision has been taken on ticket offices.”

Mr Lynch was talking on a picket line at London Euston station, which is closed due to industrial motion by 4 unions.

Train drivers belonging to the Aslef union, and members of the TSSA and Unite, have coordinated stoppages that the RMT mentioned would “bring the railway to an effective standstill”.

In truth, round one prepare in 9 is operating – primarily on intercity hyperlinks between London and cities corresponding to Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol and Southampton.

The common secretary mentioned: “Companies will try and run a skeleton service but it won’t be anything that the public can rely on, as far as we can see.”

Union bosses have met the brand new transport secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, in what Mr Lynch known as “a good meeting, positive”.

Ms Trevelyan advised the Evening Standard: “Hopefully, my view of the world and the ability to bring everyone together is something that will get everyone to agree that we can find a landing zone that we can all live with.”

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, representing prepare operators, mentioned: “No closing resolution has been taken on ticket places of work.

“We are how we are able to transfer workers from behind glass home windows in ticket places of work to present face-to-face help elsewhere on the station the place they’re nearer to clients and higher positioned to assist them.

“Today, simply 13 per cent of tickets are presently purchased utilizing a ticket workplace – that quantity is continuous to decline. When the trade was privatised, 82 per cent of tickets have been purchased at a ticket workplace – as we speak expertise has moved on considerably and fewer than one in eight tickets are actually purchased at a ticket workplace.

“Staff will all the time present face-to-face providers on the railways, which could be essential for many who want extra assist and can’t, or don’t need to use contactless or cell tickets.   The actuality is that ticket places of work have seen a big decline in passenger use during the last decade.

“The adjustments would drastically enhance our capability to make workers obtainable on the proper place and proper time to assist clients in a wide range of methods, fairly than being restricted to simply promoting tickets.  Staffing ranges will proceed to take into consideration the security and safety of shoppers and workers.”

The RMT common secretary mentioned he will even be in search of substantial pay rises.

“We’re not at [the point of addressing] pay at the moment,” Mr Lynch mentioned. “You don’t get a pay rise when you haven’t acquired a job, it’s so simple as that. And when you’re working 24-7, working round the clock, the circumstances are vitally vital.

“When we work that out we’ll transfer on to what the pay deal is. We all know inflation could be very excessive. These members right here from a couple of firm haven’t had a pay deal for 3 years. And what’s been provided to Network Rail gained’t remedy that. That’s 8 per cent over three years.

“Who is aware of what inflation is? We’ll get a determine in just a few weeks’ time, nevertheless it’s going to be within the teenagers, it may go greater. So there’s plenty of work to be accomplished on pay, however we’re not even on the level of discussing it but.”

Compared with earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, income from prepare tickets is down about 20 per cent – roughly £2bn yearly.

Tim Shoveller, the lead negotiator for Network Rail, advised Times Radio: “The railway is running a massive financial loss.”

He mentioned Saturday’s industrial motion “serves only to ensure our staff forgo even more of their pay unnecessarily, as well as causing even more disruption for our passengers and further damaging the railway’s recovery from the pandemic”.

The prime minister has advised The Sun, “We will keep an iron grip on the national finances,” whereas a Liz Truss ally – levelling up secretary Simon Clarke – mentioned Whitehall departments would have to “trim the fat”.

The Department for Transport mentioned: “No closing resolution has been taken on ticket places of work. Station workers are very important for passengers’ security and passengers will all the time profit from face-to-face help at prepare stations.

“The actuality is ticket places of work have seen a big decline in use during the last decade, and by making station workers extra adaptable we may have a greater railway for passengers and taxpayers.”

A 12 months in the past, Ms Trevelyan campaigned in opposition to proposed cuts in ticket workplace hours on the station serving her Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency.

She advised constituents she had written to LNER, the state-run prepare operator, and mentioned: “I hope they will listen to the concerns raised with them by passengers, and think of ways in which we can ensure those who wish to buy a ticket from a person at a station are able to do so.”

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