RMT

  1. Tube strike called off

    A planned strike by workers on London Underground has been called off after a breakthrough in talks over industrial relations.

    The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said it had suspended industrial action scheduled for Friday on the Victoria line, one of the busiest on the network.

    RMT general secretary Mick Cash said a previous strong vote in favour of strikes had been instrumental in achieving a breakthrough.

  2. Wabtec proposes 450 job cuts at Doncaster rail factory

    Up to 450 jobs are under threat at a rail refurbishment factory in South Yorkshire, it has been announced.

    Wabtec

    Wabtec in Doncaster said the proposed cuts, which could see nearly half its workforce axed, were due to a fall in demand for its services.

    It said the plans would help secure the future of the factory, on the site where the Flying Scotsman was built.

    But the RMT union said the "savage cuts" proposed should be "immediately withdrawn" to allow for discussions.

    Under the proposals, which are to be put out to consultation, up to 450 jobs could be lost over several months, starting in August.

  3. TfL: Tube journeys up by 10% compared to last week

    Clapham Common underground station
    Image caption: Clapham Common underground station earlier today

    There was a 10% increase in London Underground journeys early on Thursday compared with the same period last week, Transport for London (TfL) said.

    Demand between 5am to 6am was up compared with last week but down from Wednesday.

    People in England are being urged to return to work but avoid public transport.

    Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, accused the Government of having a "contradictory and potentially lethal approach" to the pandemic.

    He said: "When we go outside our homes into open spaces two-metre social distancing must be maintained at all times, but then on the other hand the Government is not lifting a finger to prevent the cramming of passengers into confined spaces on bus, train and Tube services."

    Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said he would be prepared to board a packed bus or train to commute to work as the coronavirus lockdown is eased, although he acknowledged overcrowding was a problem.

    The Communities Secretary told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We have given guidance that to protect yourself and others you could choose to wear a face covering.

    "You should be taking precautions like social distancing if you can - I appreciate that isn't always possible and some of the scenes... show buses and Tubes too full to be able to sit two metres apart and that's a problem.

    "That's one of the reasons why we are trying to encourage as many people as can to drive to work - if they have a car - or to walk or cycle."

    Data published by location technology firm TomTom showed there was more traffic in the UK's major cities compared with the previous week.

    The congestion level in London at 8am was 19%, up from 16% last week.

    Other cities to experience an increase include Belfast (from 12% to 15%), Birmingham (from 9% to 11%), Cardiff (from 8% to 11%), Edinburgh (from 12% to 15%) and Manchester (from 10% to 13%).

    The figures represent the proportion of additional time required for journeys compared with free-flow conditions.

  4. Call for offshore testing support

    The offshore industry has called for support for coronavirus testing for the workforce.

    Industry body Oil and Gas UK and the RMT union have both called for tests to be made available - once priority has been given to NHS and frontline workers.

    It follows offshore evacuations over the weekend.

  5. Northern Rail should be 'brought into public ownership'

    Graphic showing Northern Rail cancellations

    It's no secret that Northern Rail has faced a range of issues in recent years, such as widespread cancellations amid the introduction of new timetables.

    On Thursday the government said the rail operator Arriva Rail North has the finances to continue only "for a number of months" (see earlier post).

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was evaluating a proposal from Arriva on options for continuing its franchise.

    The process could ultimately lead to the government taking control of services, Mr Shapps said.

    His announcement has led to calls for Northern to be taken into public ownership.

    Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "This is just another fudge by the Tory Government on Northern but it still proves without a shadow of a doubt that their private franchise model for running our railways is finished.

    "The whole privatisation experiment which has reduced our railways to chaos must now be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    "Other basket cases - South Western Railway, Scotrail, TransPennine Express and the rest - should also be put out of their misery and be brought into public ownership as soon as is practically possible and I have written again to the Transport Secretary to discuss exactly that."