Union members to join striking rail workers on picket lines at Wolverhampton

Union members were today due to stand together once again as the second day of the nationwide rail strike got under way.

The picket line near Wolverhampton train station on Tuesday
The picket line near Wolverhampton train station on Tuesday

A picket line was expected to form outside Wolverhampton Railway Station this morning and again later this evening as members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) gather together as part of the strike.

It is the second day workers have walked out this week in a row over job cuts and pay freezes, with further action planned on Saturday.

John Watson, Midlands regional organiser for the RMT union, said there is expected to be a picket line outside the train station in Wolverhampton from 6am to 11am and 4pm to 7pm today.

He welcomed the support shown during the first day of the strikes on Tuesday and said workers were prepared for a “long-haul fight” if common ground cannot be found in talks with rail bosses.

He said: “On Tuesday we had lots of support from travellers, they understood why we were doing it.

“The staff are prepared for a long haul fight to get the changes they want.

“Any opportunity to talk, we will do.

“To the travellers affected, we understand the pressure it’s putting people under and it’s not a decision that has been taken lightly.”

Ian McNee, Wolverhampton South West Labour chair, turned up at the picket line in Wolverhampton on Tuesday to show his support for the group and planned to be there again today.

He said: “We stand with the ordinary working people who are suffering so badly with the cost of living crisis.

“The railway workers have kept us going throughout the pandemic and put their lives on the line and are being asked to pay for the government’s mismanagement of the affair.”

He said workers had largely been supported by the public on Tuesday and said it was “very encouraging”.

Rail services in the West Midlands will again be severely reduced today due to the strike action.

Patience

Jonny Wiseman, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, thanked passengers for their patience and understanding while the reduced timetable remains in operation.

He said: “Further strike action is taking place today and Saturday and our advice remains that passengers should only travel if their journey is essential and they have no other means of transport available to them.

“Full information relating to the strike action, including refunds, is available at wmr.uk/industrialaction.”

National Express West Midlands said it will be continuing to run bus services as normal on strike days this week.

A spokesman said: “We have looked at our passenger numbers from Tuesday and we’ll be adapting the resource we have to match demand going forward.

“Please be aware that rail tickets and passes will not be accepted on our buses on rail strike days.

“A day ticket on National Express buses is £4.

“Customers can pay on the bus by tapping a contactless bank card (or the banking app on their phone) on the bus ticket machine.

“However many journeys they make that day, they will only be charged £4.”

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