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‘Complicated’ compensation blow to rail passengers hit by third strike in a week

Members of the RMT union on South Western Railway, Arriva Rail North, Merseyrail and Greater Anglia are striking for 24 hours.

Passengers hit by a third day of rail strikes on Friday have been told their rights to compensation because of delays are “surprisingly complicated”.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were said to be “solidly supporting” walkouts at four train operators in the long-running dispute over the role of guards.

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(PA Graphics)

The union criticised Transport Secretary Chris Grayling for not responding to its call for a summit to try to break the deadlock.

RMT members on South Western Railway (SWR), Arriva Rail North (Northern), Merseyrail and Greater Anglia walked out for 24 hours following action on Monday and Wednesday.

Picket lines were again mounted outside railway stations affected by the strike, and passengers faced delays, cancellations and replacement buses in some parts of the country.

Travellers on SWR face further disruption this weekend because of engineering work which will affect several routes, with replacement bus services in place in areas including Southampton, Brockenhurst, Woking and Guildford.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members remain rock-solid in each of the separate disputes across the country over rail safety this morning, on the final day of this phase of action, as we continue to fight to put public safety, security and access before the profits of the train operating companies.

“‎Earlier this week we wrote to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling for summit talks under an independent chair to break the deadlock in these long-running disputes.

“He has refused to respond but managed to take time off during his busy schedule this week to stand up in Parliament to defend to the hilt Britain’s rip-off private rail companies.

“His lack of interest in rail staff’s concerns for passenger safety is a disgrace.

“It makes no sense at all that we have been able to agree long-term arrangements in Wales and Scotland which secure the guard guarantee and which underpin the basic principles of safety, access and security for the travelling public.

“If that rail safety guarantee is right for Wales and Scotland then it must be right for the rest of the UK.”

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(Jonathan Brady/PA)

A Department for Transport spokesman said earlier this week: “This is a dispute between a private company and the RMT. However, the Transport Secretary recognises the disruption caused to passengers and has met with union leaders on several occasions, including as recently as December, to help bring an end to the strikes.

“He offered guarantees of employment to members who currently fulfil the role of the second person on the train beyond the length of the franchises.

“Nobody is losing their job as a result of driver-controlled operation trains – employees have been guaranteed jobs and salaries for several years.”

Northern said it would run around 1,350 services on strike days, more than half its normal timetable, mostly between 7am and 7pm.

SWR plans to run more than 70% of its normal weekday service of 1,700 trains, although there will be rail replacement buses, arrangements to have tickets accepted on other train companies and most routes will see a reduced service.

Greater Anglia plans to run a normal service, with no alterations.

Merseyrail will run a reduced service, mostly between 7am and 7pm, with a break during the middle of the day.

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