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Tube driver who led ‘free Palestine’ chant on London Underground train suspended, TfL says | UK News

A Tube driver who appeared to lead passengers in a chant of “free, free Palestine” on a London Underground train has been suspended pending further investigation, Transport for London has said.

The incident happened on Saturday as around 100,000 protestors took part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration.

Footage posted online by a journalist appeared to show the chant being led over the train’s speaker system.

The driver of the Central Line service said “free, free” to which passengers responded “Palestine” – a popular chant at protests.

Follow live: Israel conducts raids inside Gaza

Glynn Barton, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “We have been urgently and thoroughly investigating the footage appearing to show a Tube driver misusing the PA system and leading chants on a Central Line train on Saturday.

“A driver has now been identified and suspended whilst we continue to fully investigate the incident in line with our policies and procedures.”

The chant was criticised by minister for London Paul Scully who said Tube staff should “focus on the day job” and warned against stoking tension in the capital.

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The Israeli Embassy said: “It is deeply troubling to see such intolerance on London’s Tubes… public transport should be a place of safety and inclusivity for all.”

On Saturday British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said the force was investigating and was “aware of footage circulating on social media which suggests chants are led by driver of a train in London earlier”.

UK weather: Red warning in place for third day as train operators urge people not to travel during Storm Babet | UK News

Storm Babet is continuing to batter the UK – with another red “danger to life” warning in place for parts of eastern Scotland and four severe flood warnings across England and Wales.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland have had warnings in place since Babet first hit on Wednesday, but eastern Scotland has suffered the worst of the storm which has left three people dead.

Train operators around the UK have advised customers not to travel due to widespread disruption following the storm.

Meanwhile, thousands remain without power as the adverse conditions continue.

A rare red weather warning is in place for parts of eastern Scotland for a third day on Saturday, with the country’s First Minister Humza Yousaf to warn: “We have not seen the last of this.”

Mr Yousaf has also posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, to urge people to heed the red weather warning and evacuate if instructed.

It comes as an amber warning for rain, meaning “extensive flooding to homes and businesses is possible”, is in place for parts of northeast Scotland covering Aberdeen and Cromarty.

The red warning is in place until 6pm.

Read more: Full list of warnings – follow live storm updates

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has issued three severe “risk to life” flood warnings around the River Derwent in Derbyshire.

They are the highest level of warning and are in place at Derby City Water Treatment Works, Little Chester, Eastgate and Cattle Market, as well as Racecourse Park at Chaddesden.

There were 282 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, and 220 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, across England as of 12 noon on Saturday.

The fourth severe flood warning has been issued for the River Severn at the village of Llandrinio, nearly Welshpool, in northern wales.

It also covers isolated properties in the Severn-Vyrnwy confluence area including Hendre Lane, Haughton and Haimwood.

Wales had eight further flood warnings in place as well as 14 flood alerts as of 12 noon on Saturday.

In the northeast of England a yellow weather warning for wind, meaning there was a small chance of fast-flowing or deep floodwater, was in place until midday.

The warnings in place for Saturday
The warnings in place for Saturday

Train operators urge people not to travel

It comes as London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Avanti West Coast and Northern Rail have all warned against travelling as lines are widely flooded.

LNER has said there is “an extremely limited service” in place due to flooding between Doncaster and Wakefield.

The service has also been impacted by speed restrictions in Scotland and trains and crews being out of position after extensive disruption on Friday.

There are no LNER services north of Edinburgh on Saturday and rail replacement services are not available because of road closures.

The train operator said remaining services may be subject to short-notice cancellations.

A man uses his homemade boat to rescue elderly residents from their home in the village of Debenham, Suffolk
A man uses his homemade boat to rescue elderly residents from their home in the village of Debenham, Suffolk

Members of the emergency services help local residents to safety in Brechin, Scotland, as Storm Babet batters the country. Flood warnings are in place in Scotland, as well as parts of northern England and the Midlands. Thousands were left without power and facing flooding from "unprecedented" amounts of rain in east Scotland, while Babet is set to spread into northern and eastern England on Friday. Picture date: Friday October 20, 2023.
A woman is helped to safety in Brechin, Scotland

Northern Rail said all lines between Cheadle Hulme and Wilmslow are blocked due to damage to the overhead electric wires.

Services are also not able to run from Sheffield to Nottingham or Lincoln due to flooding.

Trains are also unable to travel between Leeds and Doncaster, Harrogate and Bradford.

The line between Newcastle and Morpeth is also closed due to viaduct damage, Northern Rail added.

Avanti West Coast has said its services are also severely disrupted and it has asked customers to not travel between Crewe and North Wales and that people should only travel between Preston and Glasgow or Edinburgh if absolutely necessary.

Thousands still without power

The Energy Networks Association said around 100,000 customers had been affected by power cuts due to Storm Babet but as of Saturday morning 96% had been reconnected, leaving 4,000 still without power.

Around 55,000 people were left without power on Friday as a result of the storm.

Some 45,000 people were reconnected to the grid as of the evening, the Energy Networks Association said.

A man with a dog sits on dinghy as emergency services assist in the evacuation of people from their homes in Brechin
A man with a dog sits on dinghy as emergency services assist in the evacuation of people from their homes in Brechin

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River turns into raging torrent as Storm Babet hits.

Babet leaves three people dead

A man in his 60s died after getting caught in fast-flowing flood water in the town of Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire on Friday.

Police Scotland previously said a falling tree hit a van near Forfar in Angus on Thursday evening, killing the 56-year-old driver.

A 57-year-old woman also died on Thursday after being swept into a river in Angus.

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Residents in tears as severe floods hit Brechin

The council in Angus said it was in uncharted territory dealing with “extreme and really challenging conditions” on Friday – with people rescued from 60 homes in and around Brechin.

The village of Edzell was completely cut off with no emergency access except via helicopter, the council said.

Meanwhile, a major search was under way following reports of a man trapped in a vehicle in floodwater in Aberdeenshire.

Police Scotland said the alarm was raised at 3am on Friday near the village of Marykirk.

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Plane skids off runway at Leeds Bradford Airport

It comes as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) warned a second major river could breach in the country on Saturday.

Aberdeenshire Council has said the latest SEPA modelling indicates a considerable risk of flooding on the River Don at Inverurie, Kemnay and Kintore between 10am and 2pm.

Hundreds of homes in Scotland have already been flooded after the River South Esk breached its banks

Leeds Bradford Airport has said it is “working hard to reopen” at 2pm today and has urged people not to travel to the terminal before that point. The airport closed on Friday after high winds forced a passenger plane to skid off a runway.

Tui customers who were due to travel from Leeds Bradford on Saturday are being directed to Manchester Airport, the airline has said.

Justin McLaughlin murder: Daniel Haig captured on CCTV holding knife moments before he stabbed 14-year-old boy at train station | UK News

A teenager has been pictured brandishing a knife which he used to stab a 14-year-old schoolboy to death just moments later.

Daniel Haig, 18, was also seen in other CCTV images arriving at Glasgow’s High Street station before the fatal attack and then fleeing the scene.

Haig has now been jailed for a minimum of 16 years after stabbing Justin McLaughlin in the heart and leaving him to die on a railway platform.

Just before, Haig had run at a group of youths, including Justin, and a clash broke out on a platform. After the scuffle ended, Haig jumped on to the track to retrieve the bladed weapon which he had dropped.

The killer inflicted the single fatal blow after Justin tripped and fell during a chase at the station in October 2021.

Justin, who had just celebrated his birthday two days earlier, pleaded for his mother as friends tried to come to his aid following the stabbing. He was taken to hospital but never recovered.

Haig, who was 16 at the time of the attack, admitted knifing Justin but had denied murder. Back in June he was found guilty following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was handed a life sentence with a minimum of 16 years behind bars at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

The judge said the murder had a “devastating effect” on the victim’s family.

Daniel Haig  stabbed Justin McLaughlin in the heart  in 2021
Pic:Police Scotland
Haig (L) stabbed Justin McLaughlin in the heart in 2021. Pic: Police Scotland

Lord Clark said: “They are left with the dreadful loss you have caused for the rest of their lives.”

The judge described it as a “brutal murder”.

He added: “Justin McLaughin was only 14, a child.

“And he was just getting back on his feet when you stabbed him. He was in a defenceless position.”

The trial heard Haig got into a scuffle with Justin and a group of his friends at the railway station on 16 October 2021.

Haig pulled a knife out of his rucksack and was seen on CCTV chasing the youths. He was also recorded jumping on to the track to retrieve the weapon after dropping it.

Lord Clark said: “They were all running some distance away from you, but Justin McLaughlin tripped and fell.

“You ran right up to him and as he was standing back up you stabbed him. The knife went right through his heart.”

The judge added it was “deeply disturbing” to see gang activity still happening in Scotland.

Daniel Haig arriving at Glasgow's High Street station. Pic: Crown Office
Haig arrives at Glasgow’s High Street station. Pic: Crown Office

Lord Clark said: “It has been going on for many decades. A boy with a knife attacking and killing another boy because he is from a different local scheme, and there is gang rivalry, is completely senseless.”

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Haig claimed he was carrying the blade for “protection” as he had been attacked a day earlier. He also said he had not intended to kill the Coatbridge teen and felt “really bad about it”.

Daniel Haig fleeing from Glasgow's High Street station after stabbing Justin McLaughlin. Pic: Crown Office
Haig was later seen on CCTV fleeing the scene. Pic: Crown Office

Killer ‘bitterly regrets his actions’

Defence counsel John Scullion KC said: “He now bitterly regrets his actions and the tragic consequences for the deceased and his family.”

Mr Scullion said Haig had “adverse childhood experiences during formative years” and by the time he was 16 he was regularly using drugs and alcohol.

The defence counsel said the case represented “a tragic waste of human life”.

Justin’s family said their lives would “never be the same”.

Victim was ‘blue-eyed boy”

Paying tribute to their “blue-eyed boy”, they said: “He was the character of the family. His younger brothers miss him so much.

“He was their best friend as well as a brother. It is a family devastated by knife crime.”

Following the verdict, it emerged that Haig had attacked a man with a garden fork and was later caught with a blade before Justin’s murder.

Moira Orr, head of homicide and major crime for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said: “This case is tragic evidence of the destruction wreaked when young people carry bladed weapons.

“We must hope this sends a message to children and teenagers who may be tempted to carry knives. They risk causing calamitous and irreparable harm to others and to themselves.”

Train strikes: Commuters warned to expect disruption as 20,000 rail workers stage walkout in ongoing pay row | UK News

More than 20,000 rail workers will strike on Thursday in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions – with passengers warned they may experience severe disruption to services.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on 20, 22 and 29 July while drivers in Aslef are banned from working overtime this week.

RMT members involved in the strikes include station workers, train managers and catering staff with 14 train companies affected.

Read more: A full list of July dates and services affected by industrial action

The industrial action will see variations in services across the country with trains due to start later and finish much earlier than usual.

Around half of train services will run in some areas, while others will have no services at all.

Services the evening before and morning after strike days may also be affected.

Passengers have been advised to check their journeys in advance.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the strikes would show the country “just how important railway staff are to the running of the rail industry”.

“My team of negotiators and I are available 24/7 for talks with the train operating companies and Government,” he said.

Mr Lynch said neither party had “made any attempt whatsoever to arrange any meetings or put forward a decent offer that can help us reach a negotiated solution”.

“The Government continues to shackle the companies and will not allow them to put forward a package that can settle this dispute,” he added.

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Starmer: Strikes ‘are government’s mess’

Meanwhile, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said the union wants to resolve the dispute.

“Train drivers don’t want to be inconveniencing the public,” he said.

“We have given the Government and rail operators plenty of opportunities to come to the table but it remains clear that they do not want a resolution.

“Our members, the drivers who keep the railway running day in, day out, will not accept the Government’s attempts to force our industry into decline.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, joins union members on the picket line outside Newcastle station. Rail passengers will suffer fresh travel disruption in the next few days because of more strikes in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions. Picture date: Wednesday May 31, 2023.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, joins union members on the picket line outside Newcastle station in May

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “The upcoming rail strikes called by the RMT union and the overtime ban by Aslef will undoubtedly cause some disruption, affecting not only the daily commute of our passengers but also disrupting the plans of families during the summer holidays.

Members of the drivers' union Aslef on the picket line at Euston station, London, during their long-running dispute over pay. Picture date: Friday May 12, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY Strikes. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Members of the drivers’ union Aslef on the picket line at Euston station, London in May

“This will lead to disappointment, frustration, and financial strain for tens of thousands of people. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and understand the impact on individuals and businesses.

“While we are doing all we can to keep trains running, unfortunately there will be reduced services between 17 July and 29 July so our advice is to check before you travel.

“Passengers with advance tickets can be refunded fee-free if the train that the ticket is booked for is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.”

Read more:
Train strikes – Full list of July dates, Tube and rail services affected by industrial action
Nearly every railway ticket office in England could close under plans due to be unveiled
RMT’s Mick Lynch insists rail strikes ‘have been a success’

London Underground passengers were also warned to expect disruption next week because of industrial action by the RMT and Aslef in a separate dispute.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Government has met the rail unions, listened to them and facilitated improved offers on pay and reform. The union leaders should put these fair and reasonable offers to their members so this dispute can be resolved.”

Rail passengers warned of six days of disruption as train drivers refuse to work overtime | UK News

​​​​​​​Disruption to rail journeys are expected across the country this week as train drivers refuse to work overtime for six days.

ASLEF announced last month that its members would withdraw non-contractual overtime, known as rest-day working, with 16 of the country’s 35 rail operators from Monday 3 July to Saturday 8 July.

Train companies affected are: Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; Cross Country; East Midlands Railway; Greater Anglia; GWR; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; Island Line; LNER; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway main line; SWR depot drivers; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.

The action may impact visitors to the first week of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

It is understood that there have been no negotiations between the union and the rail operators since the action was announced on 19 June.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said at the time: “Once again, we find ourselves with no alternative but to take this action.

Aslef General Secretary Mick Whelan arrives at the Department of Transport in Westminster, London, ahead of a meeting between members of the rail unions and Minister of State for Rail and HS2, Huw Merriman, after a week of disruption to rail services because of strikes. Picture date: Monday January 9, 2023.
ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan

“We have continually come to the negotiating table in good faith, seeking to resolve this dispute.

“Sadly, it is clear from the actions of both the train operating companies and the government that they do not want an end to the dispute.

“Their goals appear to be to continue industrial strife and to do down our industry.

“We don’t want to inconvenience the public.

Rail strikes: Full list of July dates, lines and services affected by industrial action

“We just want to see our members paid fairly during a cost-of-living crisis when inflation is running at above 10%, and to not see our terms and conditions taken away.

“It’s time for the Government and the companies to think again and look for a resolution.”

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group responded: “ASLEF’s leadership continues to disrupt customers’ travel plans.

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Rail union boss ‘not at fault’

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“They rejected a fair and affordable offer without putting it to their members which would take average driver base salaries for a basic salary for a four-day week without overtime from £60,000 to nearly £65,000 by the end of 2023 pay awards.

“Train companies will work hard to minimise the impact of the overtime ban but the impact of ASLEF’s action will vary across the 16 train operators and customers are advised to check their travel plans before setting off.

“We ask ASLEF to recognise the very real financial challenge the industry is facing and work with us to deliver a better railway with a strong long-term future.”

Man found dead on train tracks after car chase with police in Streatham | UK News

A 34-year-old man has died on train tracks in south London after a car chase with police officers.

The Metropolitan Police said the car failed to stop at 3.26am on Wednesday as it headed towards Streatham High Road.

“A vehicle pursuit was authorised and officers followed the car for a short time, indicating it should stop,” said a Met statement.

The driver ran away after crashing in Brunswick Mews, Streatham, and police lost sight of him in nearby Potters Lane, the force said.

A police helicopter joined the search and a body was spotted on tracks near Estreham Road.

The power to the lines was turned off so the emergency responders could get to the man.

Police said: “As soon as the lines were confirmed as safe, officers and paramedics approached the man who was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.”

The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed and the Independent Office for Police Conduct is also investigating.

Train strike action ‘solid’ and will continue until government ‘unblocks’ pay dispute, says RMT union boss Mick Lynch | UK News

Striking rail workers have vowed to continue walking out until the government “unblocks” their pay dispute on the second day in a row of cancellations.

There are 14 rail operators affected by strike action by the RMT union on Saturday – the day of the Eurovision finale in Liverpool – after a separate walkout by train drivers from ASLEF on Friday.

Both strikes have caused widespread cancellations and show no signs of stopping after the RMT rejected a 9% pay increase.

Southeastern trains in sidings at Ramsgate station in Kent, as services are disrupted due to members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) taking strike action in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions. Picture date: Thursday March 16, 2023.

ASLEF, which was offered an 8% increase over two years, has strikes planned until 3 June – the day of the FA Cup Final.

After rejecting the most recent offer, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch called for a special summit of unions, train operators and the government in a letter to Transport Secretary Mark Harper.

He told Sky News rail bosses want unions to call off any remaining strikes before negotiating any further – but their industrial action is “solid” and “will be as long as this campaign goes on”.

“What they want us to do is call off the dispute and then go into another set of negotiations without the leverage on the table – and we simply can’t do that,” he said on Saturday. “You don’t disarm yourself half-way through a campaign.

Members of the drivers' union Aslef on the picket line at Euston station, London, during their long-running dispute over pay. Picture date: Friday May 12, 2023.
Striking ASLEF train drivers on Friday

“It’s up to the government to unblock this dispute because they are the ones who have the final say on what is proposed at the table.

“In their contracts with these companies they stipulate what the negotiating position is and what the offers are.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch (centre) and striking rail workers at London Euston
Mick Lynch (centre) said industrial action, as things stood, remained ‘solid’

Union did not put latest offer to its members

Paul Gentleman, spokesperson for Great Western Railway, whose members are on strike today, said he knows of RMT members happy with the latest offer – but the RMT has not given members a chance to vote on it.

Describing it as “disappointing” and the dispute as “toxic”, he told Sky News a separate summit is unnecessary as “existing methods” could “provide the solution”.

Labour’s shadow employment secretary Alison McGovern added that constant train strikes are hindering the UK’s economic recovery.

Read more:
Rail passengers and Eurovision fans face significant disruption in fresh strikes
Who is taking industrial action in 2023 and when?

But Mr Lynch said the union did not put the offer out for ballot because it did not keep up with the cost of living crisis and inflationary pressures.

“It’s not acceptable. It doesn’t meet the demands in the dispute,” he said.

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Rail strikes ‘need to end’

It comes after the government was forced to bring the operator TransPennine Express under its control following a year of widespread delays and cancellations.

TransPennine, which was also on strike on Saturday – and covers the north of England and a small part of Scotland, has been badly affected by ASLEF driver strikes.

Mr Harper said his department had “played our part but ASLEF now need to play theirs” by calling off further strikes.

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Merseyrail, which runs the trains out of Liverpool, was not on strike on Saturday, with Eurovision organisers insisting travel to the city for the final would not be disrupted.

But those not already in Liverpool for the final will be unable to get there if they were relying on connecting services run by: Avanti West Coast; c2c; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Gatwick Express; Great Northern; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; Heathrow Express; Island Line; LNER; London Northwestern Railway; Southeastern; Southern; Stansted Express; Thameslink; TransPennine Express; or West Midlands Railway.

Man murdered with horseshoe after row over loud music on train, court told | UK News

A man was murdered with a metal horseshoe following a row over loud music on a train, a court has heard.

Thomas Parker, 24, died after being hit on the back of the head at Reading station in Berkshire on 30 July last year.

Kirkpatrick Virgo has admitted the attack but denies murdering the golf club greenkeeper.

Jurors heard Mr Parker had been to an Arsenal game with his brother Craig and some friends when Virgo and two others got on and started playing music from a ‘boom box’ speaker.

Craig Parker got into a row with Virgo’s friend who was playing the music but there was no violence, according to prosecutors.

Virgo, 42, is then said to have joined the argument, warning the other group “do you want to die tonight?”

A pair of off-duty police officers tried to calm the situation but Virgo was said to be “looking for trouble” by using a homophobic slur against Craig Parker, Reading Crown Court was told.

It heard Virgo followed the group when they left the train and hit Thomas Parker on the head with a heavy metallic horseshoe from his backpack.

The attack was caught on CCTV.

“He was intent on doing some serious damage to one or another of the victim’s group,” said prosecutor Tahir Khan KC.

“The defendant followed after Tom Parker and he bought the heavy weapon down on the back of [his] head.

“Tom Parker fell straight to the floor and sadly he did not get back up. He was fatally wounded by a single blow.”

Virgo ran off but was caught by the victim’s brother.

A security guard also intervened and gave CPR to Thomas Parker, who was bleeding heavily, but despite the efforts of emergency services he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.

The defendant, from Slough, showed little emotion on Monday as the case against him was detailed.

He admits manslaughter and possessing an offensive weapon but denies murder.

The trial continues.

Train strikes set to cause widespread travel misery as drivers walk out for second time this week | UK News

Rail passengers are facing fresh travel chaos today as train drivers hold another strike leaving large parts of the country with no services all day.

Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Operators said there would be severe disruption, with trains that do run due to start later and finish much earlier than usual – typically between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

Saturday morning services are also expected to be affected.

Read more:
Who is going on strike and when?

The rail industry has criticised the rejection of an offer which would give drivers an 8% pay rise over two years, taking average salaries up from nearly £60,000 a year, to almost £65,000.

Simon Weller, assistant general secretary of Aslef, said the dispute was going “backwards” because of the lack of progress in months of talks.

“I don’t know whether to point the finger of blame at the ineptitude of the Department for Transport or the Rail Delivery Group.

“We would struggle to recommend a deal of a 4% pay rise for last year and 4% this year if there were no conditions attached, but we are being asked to give up collective bargaining and effectively agree to a no-strike deal.

“Obviously it was going to be rejected – it was designed to fail.”

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “To minimise the impact of the Aslef action, we advise passengers to check before they travel, allow extra time and find out when their first and last train will depart.”

It will be the second strike by train drivers this week, after they took part in the huge day of industrial action on Wednesday.

Other professions who walked out included teachers, university staff, civil servants, bus drivers and security guards.

Around 1,900 members of Unite working as bus drivers for Abellio in London will complete a three-day strike on Friday in a separate dispute over pay.

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Meanwhile, train services between Scotland and England will be severely disrupted by the strike.

Cross-border services operated by CrossCountry, Transpennine Express and Avanti West Coast will not run on Friday.

LNER said it will run an amended service and Lumo, which run trains between Edinburgh and London, said it will aim to run as many services as possible.

No LNER trains will run any further north than Edinburgh, with trains between Edinburgh and London King’s Cross starting later and finishing earlier than usual.

ScotRail has reassured customers that all services would operate as normal this week.

Pay offer made to Aslef train drivers as rail strike disruption continues on Saturday | UK News

Train operating companies have offered the drivers’ union a two-year deal in a bid to resolve the bitter pay dispute  – as strikes across the rail network continue on Saturday.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said it was offering a “landmark outline proposal” in exchange for a pay increase of 4% for 2022 and 4% for this year.

It also includes a commitment to no compulsory redundancies until at least 31 March 2024.

Steve Montgomery, chairman of the RDG, said: “This is a fair and affordable offer in challenging times, providing a significant uplift in salary for train drivers while bringing in common-sense and long-overdue reforms that would drive up reliability for passengers and allow the railway to adapt to changed travel patterns.”

Drivers’ union Aslef said it had not seen the offer.

It comes as RMT union members at Network Rail and 14 train companies are continuing with a 48-hour strike which is set to cripple services across the country again on Saturday.

Only around one in five trains will run, with services starting later and finishing earlier.

The RMT has rejected a pay offer from train companies of 4% last year and 4% this year, saying a “host of unacceptable changes” were included such as the widespread expansion of driver-only operation on train services.

It argued that while rail workers have had their pay frozen between March 2020 and September 2022, official data showed that the private train operators made £310m in taxpayer-funded profits during the same period.

File photo dated 05/01/23 of Southeastern train drivers outside Ramsgate station in Kent during a strike by drivers from the Aslef union, in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions. Train operating companies have offered the drivers' union a two-year pay deal in a bid to resolve the bitter dispute which has led to a series of strikes. The Rail Delivery Group said it was offering a "landmark outline proposal" that would deliver more reliable services for passengers, in exchange for a pay in
Southeastern train drivers outside Ramsgate station in Kent during a strike by drivers from the Aslef union

By September this year, that figure will be in excess of £400m, all of which can be turned into shareholder dividends, said the union.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “While the secretary of state and the Rail Delivery Group spin about the need for reform to fund pay rises, the truth is that the money was always there but it’s being salted away by a gang of profiteers and their mates in the government.

“It’s outrageous that the interests of workers, passengers and the taxpaying public are all sacrificed to the greed of a handful of private transport companies who are being guaranteed profits when they can’t run a railway even when we’re not on strike.”

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The latest strikes are part of a long-running pay dispute between rail staff and the train operating companies, that has caused widespread disruption to services across the UK.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Passengers have rightly had enough of rail strikes and want the disruption to end.

“Unions should step back from this strike action so we can start 2023 by ending this damaging dispute.”