ondon Tube has started emptying out by 7pm on Monday ahead of the strike that starts at midnight on Tuesday.
The rail strikes were given the green light to go ahead after last ditch talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMT union said.
A series of strikes at Network Rail and 13 train operators will go ahead on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday amid an ongoing dispute over pay and pensions.
RMT and Unite workers will also stage a walk-out on the London Underground on Tuesday.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, said unions were not looking to compromise and warned travelers that industrial action could stretch on for months.
The RMT general secretary said the union had rejected below inflation pay rises Network Rail.
A temporary timetable is being introduced with several rail operators winding down services this evening.
London Underground begins to quieten down ahead of strikes
The Tube is already beginning to empty out ahead of 24-hour strike that starts at midnight, Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall reports.
A photograph taken on the Victoria Line showed the Tube carriage almost empty at 7pm, just hours before the strike begins.
Unions and recruiters criticize government plans to allow agency workers to replace strikers
Government plans to allow agency workers to replace strikers have been slammed by the recruitment industry and trade unions.
The TUC and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) issued a strongly worded joint statement calling on the government to abandon its “unworkable” plan.
They opposed it in the “strongest possible terms”, adding: “Using agency staff to cover strikes will only prolong the conflict between employers and their staff. Strikes are industrial disputes within a single industry or firm.
“Government needs to step up and do the work around resolving industrial disputes rather than inserting a third party in the form of agency workers into a dispute. That does nothing to solve the underlying issues between the company and their staff. ”
Shadow transport secretary says strikes represent ‘catastrophic failure of leadership’ in government
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “Should these strikes go ahead tomorrow they will represent a catastrophic failure of leadership.
“Ministers owe it to all those affected by this serious disruption to get around the table for last ditch talks, to sort it out and avert this disruption.”
She added: “Not only has he been boycotting the talks, he’s tied the hands of those at the table. He and his department failed to give the train operating companies, a party to these talks, any mandate to negotiate whatsoever… These talks are a sham because ministers have set them up to fail. ”
She added: “There is still time for the Secretary of State to do the right thing, the brave thing and show responsibility.
“Patients, school children, low-paid workers, the entire country needs a resolution and they will not forgive this Government if they do not step in and resolve it.
“Even now at this late hour, I urge him – get around the table and do your job.”
Shapps: No deal with rail unions unless they accept modernization plans
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there can be “no deal” without accepting the need to modernize the railways, while accusing union leaders and the Opposition of seeming to focus on “widening the division, rather than bridging the gap”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Shapps said: “The rhetoric we have seen from union leaders, and the Opposition benches over the weekend seems to be focused on widening the division, rather than bridging the gap.”
He said rail reform “is to unite and modernize the industry”, warning against “clinging to obsolete working practices”, giving as an example how on “most of the railway… Sunday working is voluntary”.
Rail Union leaders call for Government to ‘come clean’ over ticket office closures
Union leaders are calling for urgent talks with the Government over the future of rail ticket offices.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps should “come clean” about any closure plans.
General secretary Manuel Cortes said in a letter to the minister: “Closing ticket offices and moving to online-only sales would badly impact millions of elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people who are unable, or far less able, to use online services, yet still need to access public transport.
“These proposed closures are in no-one’s interest and make a mockery of your so called Great British Railways reforms.
“With trust at rock bottom between rail workers and bosses, what you are doing, in effect, is further entrenching our dispute with you which is not only about jobs, pay and conditions but the future wellbeing of our rail network …”
Shapps says Government doing all that it can to minimize rail strike disruption
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government is doing everything it can to minimize disruption during the rail strikes.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Shapps said: “We are doing everything we can, despite these strikes, to minimize the disruption throughout the entire network.
“We are working with the civil contingencies secretariat, the Government’s emergency planning team, to keep critical supply chains open wherever possible.
“Operators will keep as many passenger trains as possible running, though of course with much disruption to the timetable that is going to be very difficult on strike days.
“And it’s estimated that around 20% of planned services will operate, focused on key workers, main population centers and critical freight routes.
“But there will be mass disruption and we advise passengers to avoid traveling unless absolutely necessary, which of course for many it will be.”
Network Rail urges public to ‘only travel by train if necessary’
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “No strike is inevitable until the moment it begins, but sadly disruption tomorrow is guaranteed so we’re asking passengers to plan ahead and only travel by train if necessary.
“We continue to talk to the RMT and urge them to work with us to find a solution that works for rail workers and taxpayers, and avoids causing further disruption for our passengers.”
Downing Street ‘deeply disappointed’
Downing Street said it was “deeply disappointing” that the strikes were going ahead, arguing that they would not resolve the issues faced on the railways.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is deeply disappointing, that these disruptive, these self-defeating strikes will take place this week.
“Striking does nothing to address the long-standing issues that we need to sort to make sure our railway, that the public use and treasure, is fit for the long term.”
The UK could see a series of strikes over the next couple months
The UK could see a series of rail strikes over the next couple of months if a deal is not reached, the general secretary of the RMT union has said.
Mick Lynch said: “Our campaign will run as long as it needs to run until we get a settlement acceptable to our people.
“Whenever we get an offer that is tenable we will put that to our members in a referendum.”
Asked if the strikes could last for months if a deal is not reached Mr Lynch replied: “I think it will, yes.”
National Highways warn roads will be ‘very busy’
National Highways said motorways and trunk roads were likely to be busy from Wednesday to Friday as people travel to the festival and again from Monday June 27 as they leave.
John Ingram, emergency planner for the south west of England, said: “We’re reminding road users to plan ahead for Glastonbury – around 200,000 people are expected to attend this year’s festival and roads leading to the event are likely to be very busy.
“Our aim is to keep the National Highways network running while keeping festival goers and other road users safe and informed.”