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Bank holiday travel chaos set to hit big events including Leeds and Reading festivals

Commuters travelling to major events this bank holiday weekend are set to face transport chaos due to a rail workers’ strike.

Some 20,000 Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) members working for 14 rail companies will walk out as part of a pay dispute on Saturday.

The strikes will likely cause major disruption for tens of thousands of Britons travelling to Leeds and Reading festivals plus Notting Hill Carnival.

Only half the usual train services will run, with many starting later and finishing much earlier than usual.

The strikes comes as the Met Office has predicted damp and miserable weather across the weekend.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, said passengers hoping to enjoy various sporting events and festivals during the bank holiday will be hit by strikes.

They added that ”’the industry” will be working hard to keep as “many services running as possible”.

A Department for Transport spokesperson claimed the government “played its part to try and end these disputes by facilitating fair and reasonable pay offers”.

They added that the RMT’s strike action was “damaging its own industry’s future”.

The walk out was branded “reckless” by trade group Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

People walking along the Millennium Bridge, London, during a rain shower, as the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning across the Midlands for thunderstorms and the south of England for strong winds. Picture date: Wednesday August 2, 2023. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
People walking along the Millennium Bridge, London, during a rain shower (Photo: PA)

A spokesman for the NTIA said major events would be left “in chaos” because ticket holders would have to ”navigate a limited transport network”.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the unions’ campaign will continue as long as it takes to get “a negotiated settlement” from the Government.

He added: “The Government is not serious about settling this dispute which is leading to further disruption for passengers.

“RMT members remain committed to winning a pay rise, securing their future employment and maintaining good working conditions.”

A plan by ticket operators to close 974 out of 1,007 railway station ticket offices ticket offices in England has also angered rail unions who insist more strikes will be held if a deal is not made to save them

The Met Office has predicted the nation will be hit by heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday amid sunny spells.

It is also estimated there may be a risk of hail in the north and west of the UK across Saturday.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Steven Keates said: “While showers are never too far away through the weekend, there will still be drier spells around and where there are breaks in the cloud on Sunday in the south it should feel quite pleasant.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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