Portsmouth politician calls for 'limited service' during railway strikes as more union action is announced

AS STRIKES stop trains running across Portsmouth, politicians in the city have called for a ‘limited service’ like those seen in other locations, as more union walkouts are planned this summer.

Today’s strikes involve more than 40,000 workers at Network Rail, 14 train companies, and members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).

Union leaders rejected Network Rail’s offer of a four per cent pay rise, another two per cent rise next year, calling the offer ‘paltry’ amid inflation of 9.4 per cent driving the cost of living crisis.

Today has seen severely limited services run across Southern and South Western Railway lines, with just four trains per hour between London Waterloo and both Windsor and Woking, as well as two per hour between London Waterloo and both Basingstoke and Southampton.

Portsmouth and Southsea train station was among those across the city closed by the strike action.

But Portsmouth stations from Cosham to Portsmouth Harbour have been closed today as union action cripples the rail networks across the city.

Read More

Read More
Portsmouth man who got stuck in lift for seven hours feared he may die after exp...

The disruption has scuppered travel plans for some – including a Havant woman who missed a family funeral due to the strikes – and hit businesses in the city.

A taxi driver who was waiting outside Portsmouth and Southsea train station said the strikes had ‘definitely’ caused trade to plummet.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on the picket line outside Basingstoke train station Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The driver, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I’ve been here two hours and we’ve had nothing.

‘I’ve been a taxi driver for three years, and usually here I am waiting 15 or 20 minutes for a fare.

‘Plenty of people have come down hoping to get a train, as they didn’t know the strike was on.’

Portsmouth City Councillor Lynne Stagg, the council’s lead for traffic and transportation, said she ‘absolutely’ supported a limited service running as seen in other cities during strike days.

Cllr Stagg said: ‘I think Portsmouth should be included – if other places have a limited service, we should as well.

She added: ‘We are looking at improving the frequency of trains from Portsmouth and Southampton for example. And we have pressed for a much better service to London.’

Yesterday, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan called on the transport secretary Grant Shapps to take ‘end the strikes imminently’ by supporting a ‘fair’ pay rise and address working conditions.

In a letter to the transport secretary, Mr Morgan said: ‘Constituents have been unable to attend school for exams, work, medical appointments, and more.

‘I am disappointed that so far, ministers have been trying to blame others – including the opposition, who as you know, has been out of government for 12 years – rather than taking meaningful action to end the strikes.

‘By indicating your support for the companies to agree that rail workers receive a fair pay rise that takes into account the rising cost of living, that changes to working conditions and jobs are secured through negotiation and agreement with the recognised unions, and that there will be no compulsory redundancies of rail workers, you could end the strikes imminently.’

Further strikes across both South Western and Great Western railway lines have been planned for Thursday, August 18, and Saturday, August, 20.