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Commuters were hit by more difficult travel on Thursday as the RMT held a second day of strikes on British rail lines.

The union confirmed that industrial action would go ahead as planned after talks between the union, Network Rail and train operators hit a snag again Wednesday afternoon.

At least 40,000 RMT members will choose amid an ongoing dispute over overcapacity and real-time pay cuts. Rail will run at 20% capacity, with many intercity trains finally departing mid-afternoon.

A bitter row between ministers and RMT escalated after the union alleges that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had “ruined” negotiations by refusing to allow Network Rail to withdraw a letter. threatened 2,900 redundant members. Mr Shapps said the claim was “complete lies” and accused RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch of “wasting time making false statements in the media”.

“RMT continues to deviate from the fact that the only people responsible for this week’s massive public disruption are them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Transport for London (TfL) warned that some disruption to Underground services could be attributed to the rail strike, with service reductions set to run on Thursday across London. Overground and Elizabeth Line. TfL says commuters should complete their journey by 6pm.

Announcing the negotiations on Thursday, Mr. Lynch said: “Grant Shapps ruined these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw its redundant threatening letter against our 2,900 members.

“Until the Government dismantles the rail network and train operators, it will not be possible to have a negotiated agreement to be agreed upon.

“We will continue with our industry campaign until we reach a negotiated agreement that will provide job security and pay increases to our members in response to the crisis. The cost of living is on the rise.”

The RMT has called for a 7% pay rise to offset the cost of living crisis even though employers have offered a maximum of 3%. Inflation is currently at 9.1%, but the Bank of England forecasts that it will hit around 11% by autumn.

Network Rail Chief Negotiator, Tim Shoveler told BBC that about 1,800 jobs are expected to be cut but that “mostly” will be due to “voluntary severance and natural waste”.

The failure to reach an agreement has raised concerns that industrial activity could drag into the summer. A Network Rail source told Telegraph that officials are bracing for a new wave of strike action as of July 9.

Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of “failing to lift a finger” to stop the strikes during the fiery clash at the Prime Minister’s Question.

“The prime minister of this country and his Transport Minister have not attended a meeting, held a conversation or raised a finger to stop these strikes,” he said.

He said that “instead of blaming others”, Mr Johnson should “do his job, get around the table and get the train running”.

In response, Mr Johnson pointed out that some Labor MPs defied Sir Keir’s orders and attended the strikes during Tuesday’s strike.

He said: “Labour is backing the strikers while we are supporting those who resist attacks.

Members of the Aslef drivers union in Greater Anglia will also go on strike on Thursday in a separate dispute over wages.

The company, also affected by the RMT dispute, advised passengers to travel only if absolutely necessary.

In a separate development, the Salaried Employees Association (TSSA) announced that its members at Merseyrail have accepted a salary of 7.1% – lower than the annual CPI inflation of only 2%.

Secretary-General Manuel Cortes said the agreement showed unions “in no way hinder the search for the necessary solutions to avoid a summer of discontent”.

It comes just two days after 40,000 RMT members staged a romp on the rail network, bringing large swaths of the country to a standstill. Just a fifth of trains ran in the UK during the biggest strikes in a generation, with severe disruption extending into Wednesday.

About 60% of services run throughout the day because it takes time for trains and crews to reach the depot after walking.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are disappointed that RMT has again chosen to walk away from negotiations without agreeing a deal. We remain open to negotiations – day or night – and will do everything we can to avoid further disruption to passengers.”

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