COMMUTERS and other rail users are facing major disruption on the first day of three planned strikes this week by members of the RMT union.
Although strikes are planned for today (Tuesday), Thursday (June 23) and Saturday (June 25), the disruption is expected to last until at least Monday (June 27).
Workers at several train companies, including West Midlands Railway, have voted to strike in a row over pay and potential job losses.
As a result there will be no trains to or from Worcester via Birmingham New Street on the Hereford line between Tuesday and Saturday.
Worcester Foregate Street is closed after warning there will be no trains at all until Sunday (June 26).
There is expected to be significant delays on the roads and on buses with an increasing reliance on the 144 and 144A buses.
WMR customer experience director, Jonny Wiseman said the RMT’s action was ‘very disappointing’ and urged people only to use trains if it was absolutely necessary and they had no other transport option is available to them.
“Passengers holding tickets or season tickets will be entitled to refunds and should visit our website for information.”
Any services which are running will only be available until 6.30pm this evening.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch has apologised for the inconvenience caused to people by this week’s strikes.
The rail union boss joined the picket outside London’s Euston Station today after talks to avoid industrial action failed last night.
Speaking to BBC’S Radio 4 Today programme, Lynch said members don’t want to cause disruption, rather the union wants to be able to ‘negotiate freely’ with the train operators and Network Rail.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described calls for him to join unions round the negotiating table as a ‘stunt’.
“I don’t meet with them because that’s the job of the employers and the employers do meet with them and this is a stunt by the trade unions,” he said.
“What they need to do is come back into the negotiation today with Network Rail, with the train operating companies, and carry on negotiations and get this thing fixed.”