Talks between union leaders and rail companies to end rail disputes are currently ongoing, but passengers across the UK have been told to still expect delays and cancellations all week.
The warning to all those travelling by train to brace for affected services comes as most railway lines will be closed during the nationwide industrial strike action – which started yesterday, and will commence on Thursday and Saturday – as workers take part in what is the biggest walkout in the industry for more than 30 years in a row over pay, jobs, and conditions.
The RMT Union officially confirmed earlier this month that over 50,000 railway workers will walk out on 21, 23 and 25 June due to what is said to be the “inability of the rail employers to come to a negotiated settlement” with the RMT.
Strike action comes after 71% of the RMT’s 40,000 members took part in a vote – with 89% voting in favour of strike action and only 11% voting against it.
The RMT Union said the strike action is because Network Rail and the train operating companies have subjected their staff to multiyear pay freezes, and plan to cut thousands of jobs – which will make the railways “unsafe”.
Members of the RMT Union at Network Rail and 13 train operators – including Northern and Avanti West Coast – have subsequently made the decision to strike, with only around one in five trains expected to be running.
Although today is not officially a strike day, only 60% of trains are expected to run across the UK, and Network Rail has said that this is mostly because of a delay to the start of services, as signallers and control room staff are not doing overnight shifts.
As strike action officially began yesterday following unsuccessful last-minute talks, much of Britain had no passenger trains for the entire day, including most of Scotland and Wales, the whole of Cornwall and Dorset, and other rural and coastal areas across the country.
Large swathes of Greater Manchester and the North West was affected, and will continue to be affected, by the strike action.
Although many chose to work from home where possible after being told to “give up on trains for the whole week”, for those who did need to travel, when train services were running yesterday – which were in very limited numbers and unpredictable – many passengers’ journeys took several hours longer than normal.
Those who chose to take the bus or travel by car were impacted by a surge in traffic, which the AA and RAC said earlier this week was unfortunately “inevitable”.
Mick Lynch – General Secretary at the RMT Union – hailed the “fantastic” turnout at picket lines which “exceeded expectations” yesterday and has vowed to continue the campaign this week, adding that RMT members are “leading the way for all workers” across the UK.
“Now is the time to stand up and fight for every single railway worker in this dispute that we will win,” he said in a statement yesterday.
In response to the first day of nationwide strike action, a Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Unions have shut down big parts of the rail network, hitting local businesses and unfairly cutting people off from hospitals, schools and work.
“However, early data shows that unlike in the past many people now have the opportunity to work from home, so we haven’t even a rush to the roads, as traffic has instead gone online.
“This means the unions aren’t having the overall impact they might have hoped.”
Featured Image – Network Rail
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.