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Passengers face rail strike misery

PUBLISHED: 11:19 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 23 August 2010

FURIOUS commuters face hours of delays or a week at home should planned strikes on railway lines across the country take place next week. Railway worker unions Railway and Maritime Transport and the Transport Salaried Staff Association have announced fou

FURIOUS commuters face hours of delays or a week at home should planned strikes on railway lines across the country take place next week.

Railway worker unions Railway and Maritime Transport and the Transport Salaried Staff Association have announced four days of strikes from next Tuesday to Friday.

The proposed walkouts follow the collapse of talks over Network Rail's plans to axe 1,500 maintenance jobs and impose changes in working conditions on remaining staff.

Commuter Tiann Kotze, 28, of Whitehill Road, Gravesend, said: "I pay the best part of two-and-a-half grand a year so obviously it's frustrating. Hopefully they can work something out."

Nick Booker, 22, Pine Avenue, of Gravesend, added: "It is annoying and all a little bit silly really. I pay a lot of money for a service and I'm not going to get that service for a week."

Signalling staff plan to strike from 6am to 10am and again from 6pm to 10 pm from Tuesday to Friday, while maintenance staff will strike continuously from 6am Tuesday to midnight Friday.

TSSA General Secretary Gerry Doherty said: "This is all about safety, the safety of the travelling public and the safety and security of our members at Network Rail."

It is estimated 1 in 5 services will be axed, with many others severely affected.

Robin Gisby, director of operations and customer services, said: "More talks are underway and we believe there is a settlement to be had.

"We can't bank on the union to call off the strike - despite ongoing talks, and so we are now concluding our contingency plans with full details available later this week."

n Full timetables will be produced today (Thursday), with passenger services expected to be reduced to 20 per cent capacity.

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