Shapps denies he is not involved in rail pay talks

Transport for London Underground services are being seriously disrupted by another RMT strike today, in a dispute over job security and pensions.

Other TfL trains and trams are running, but London Overground started later than usual, DLR services to Bank will not run after 18.30 and Elizabeth Line trains are also likely to be affected after 22.30. On the roads there are fewer trams than usual, but buses are very busy.

The National Rail network is recovering after yesterday’s strike, but staff at Network Rail and most train operators are set to walk out again tomorrow.

The unions have warned that the walkouts will continue for ‘as long as it takes’, but transport secretary Grant Shapps is denying that he is not involved in the negotiations.

He told the BBC: ‘I’m involved every single day, probably once every hour.’ He said he and his colleagues on a ministerial group were looking ‘at the overall picture’ and working out ‘how we can manage to get the offer which is on the table, that’s an 8 per cent pay rise over two years, to the members of the union’.

Meanwhile, the strikes will affect the Isle of Wight for the first time tomorrow night, even though Island Line staff are not joining the walkouts. There will be no trains between Ryde and Shanklin from 19.00 on Saturday, and services will not start on Sunday until 07.00, because not enough Network Rail electrical control room operators at Eastleigh will be at work, and Network Rail has to give priority for providing power to the busiest lines. Rail replacement buses are being arranged.