Rail passengers are facing fresh disruption across the train network as workers stage a second day of strike action amid a bitter dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.
Talks were held on Wednesday between the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), Network Rail and rail operators in a bid to break the deadlocked row.
But there was no breakthrough, with the RMT criticising Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
RMT members at Network Rail and 13 train operators are staging a walk out today following a stoppage on Tuesday, crippling large parts of the rail network.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Grant Shapps has wrecked these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for 2,900 of our members.
“Until the government unshackle Network Rail and the train operating companies, it is not going to be possible for a negotiated settlement to be agreed.”
But Mr Shapps accused Mr Lynch of telling a “total lie”, arguing he had “absolutely nothing to do” with the issuing of a letter from Network Rail or any request to withdraw it.
Second day of strikes to close more than half of rail services in Britain
The second day of rail strikes today is expected to see half of all rail networks in Britain closed, after talks between the RMT union and railway employers broke down at the beginning of the week.
The RMT union has accused transport secretary Grant Shapps of “wrecking negotiations.”
Mr Shapps has, meanwhile, called it “a total lie” and said that the union is entirely to blame for the “massive disruption”.
It was reported that with just 20 per cent of rail services functional, Thursday’s strike is going to have a similar impact to Tuesday’s.
Another walkout is scheduled for Saturday.
Maroosha Muzaffar23 June 2022 05:24
Welcome to The Independent’s live blog following the train and Tube strikes throughout Thursday.
Maroosha Muzaffar23 June 2022 05:01