London Underground workers and Network Rail have also gone on strike in a dispute over pensions and job losses. Today sees the first of three national rail strikes across England, Scotland, and Wales as two more are planned for Thursday and Saturday.
Now the RMT Union is advising not to travel. Only a fifth of trains is due to run on half of the network. Many areas will see no trains at all north from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Penzance in Cornwall, to Swansea or Holyhead.
The RMT trade union reckons the whole thing has been “manufactured” by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, but Shapps claims it has been “created by the unions”.
Passenger numbers are down by a fifth, and an expensive fifth if you are a train operating company.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke has said wages in the private and public sectors can’t keep up with these price rises, or inflation will get worse. That’s quite a senior minister to say: Having less money now is a price worth paying for things getting better sooner.
Earlier, Network Rail CEO Andrew Haines said he would be happy to give members a pay rise above 3 per cent, but only if he got an agreement from the RMT on automation.