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Rail passengers face disruption as workers at two companies stage strikes

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway and Eurostar will walk out for 24 hours.

Rail workers at two companies are to strike on Saturday in separate disputes, threatening disruption for passengers.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway (SWR) and Eurostar will walk out for 24 hours.

Eurostar station staff based at London’s St Pancras claim they face “shocking and dangerous” working conditions because of repeated service failures and breakdowns.

The SWR strike is over the long running dispute about the role of guards.

More strikes are being held in the coming weeks, including next Tuesday, following a walkout on Thursday.

SWR said half its services will be affected on Saturday.

The company said nearly 70% of normal services ran on Thursday and London Waterloo experienced a 12% reduction in customer numbers, with one in four guards scheduled to work reporting for duty.

It plans to provide around 50% of the normal train service on Saturday, adding it will provide longer trains to deliver additional seating.

Passengers were strongly advised to check their journey before they travel.

An SWR spokesman said: “It is frustrating and disappointing that the RMT union has decided to go ahead with plans to strike on our network. This is despite proposals we have put forward which are similar to that of another train operator, Greater Anglia, which the RMT has recently agreed to. We are urging the RMT to return to talks and end this damaging disruption to passengers.

“We are sorry that this industrial action is inconveniencing many of our passengers, and will continue to do everything we can to keep passengers moving.”

The union claimed the international terminal at St Pancras has been reduced to “chaos”, with staff bearing the brunt of public anger over delays to services.

Around 140 staff are involved in the dispute.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The conditions at St Pancras have been simply appalling in recent weeks, with dangerous levels of overcrowding on the concourse as services plunge into meltdown on the cusp of the busiest part of the year.

“RMT will not tolerate a position where our members are left to pick up the pieces due to corporate failures.”

The union said it was escalating the dispute by balloting train managers for industrial action over the same issue.

A Eurostar spokesman said: “We are aware of the proposed strike and are disappointed that this action is planned.

“If the strike action goes ahead, our plan is to run a normal service so that all passengers booked to travel with Eurostar will be able to do so.”

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