Second of five rail strikes taking place today as pay dispute continues

The dates of the series of 24-hour rolling strikes include the sold-out November 14 showdown between Ireland and Denmark at the Aviva Stadium for the second leg of the football World Cup qualifier

Second of five rail strikes taking place today as pay dispute continues

Unions had sought annual pay increases of about 3.75 per cent - similar to the rises secured by workers at Dublin Bus and Luas after strikes a year ago.

"We appreciate that these strikes will cause disruption to the travelling public, but the ball is very much in the company's court".

"Should, in certain circumstances, a train not have that second person on board then it will still be able to run until a replacement can be provided".

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, said: "Our members on Southern, after careful consideration, and long and hard negotiations, have voted to accept this resolution to our industrial dispute with the company".

'The independent rail regulator has said driver-controlled trains, which have been used in this country for more than 30 years, are safe'.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, said: "This decision leaves the RMT leadership completely isolated".

The announcement of strikes was made after a collapse of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission over pay.

The walkouts will carry on for 48 hours across Southern, South Western and Greater Anglia, with a 24-hour strike planned today on Merseyrail and Northern.

The RMT's general secretary has said the result didn't change the campaign his union is now running, blasting the deal as "shoddy".

"This dispute is not about jobs - Southern has already introduced the changes which the unions are striking over and no one has lost their job or any pay as a result - in fact there are more staff on Southern trains". No trains are running on the lines west of Poole and Yeovil Junction, nor on the Isle of Wight. "Only this week at the Wimbledon derailment it was the guard on that train who safely evacuated 300 passengers in an emergency situation".

Staff on Southern, South Western Railway and Greater Anglia walked out on Wednesday and will continue their action on Thursday, November 9.

In the Northern region, the train operator is seeking to run two-thirds of the normal weekday timetable.

Tens of thousands of commuters and transport users faced morning and evening chaos on the roads on Tuesday as Irish Rail staff held a second day of walk-outs.

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