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Live Reporting

Edited by Chris Giles

All times stated are UK

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  1. What happened today?

    Thanks for joining our live coverage of the day's events. We're closing our coverage shortly, but here's a recap of what happened:

    • British Airways workers based at Heathrow voted in favour of strikes in a dispute over pay
    • A No 10 spokesman says the government expects BA to put in place contingency measures to ensure little disruption is caused
    • Train services have been disrupted across Britain on the second day of rail strikes, with another walkout planned for Saturday
    • Glastonbury festival-goers who decided to travel by train despite the strike were surprised to find a lack of queues at London stations
    • Plans are under way to change the law to enable employers to use agency staff to cover staffing gaps during strikes
    • Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on the UK government to get around the table with the RMT union

    Today's reporting was brought to you by Victoria Lindrea, Adam Durbin, Craig Hutchison, Marita Moloney, James Harness, Alexandra Fouche, Lauren Hirst and Aoife Walsh.

    It was edited by Chris Giles, Jeremy Gahagan and Holly Wallis.

  2. BA Heathrow staff back summer strikes over pay

    Theo Leggett

    BBC International Business Correspondent

    This is going to be a difficult summer for British Airways.

    IT problems and staff shortages have already hit its operations this year. Now you can add industrial action to the mix.

    Check-in staff at Heathrow are set to walk out during the summer peak. The airline will have contingency plans in place, but with systems already under strain, disruption seems inevitable.

    The airline insists that it wants to work with staff, and that it’s 10% one-off bonus offer was a prelude to meaningful pay talks. It is still under pressure, too – the industry has not fully recovered.

    But the problem its facing is that when the cuts were first imposed, many staff were deeply upset by what they saw as the heavy-handed approach of the airline’s management.

    And now, it’s pretty clear that many workers simply don’t trust the word of their managers.

  3. Train services are expected to be disrupted tomorrow

    Although railway staff are on strike today the effect of the industrial action will still be felt tomorrow.

    It's thought only 60% of the normal weekday services will operate. This is due to the knock-on effect of overnight signallers and control room staff being on strike.

    Trains will leave depots a lot later in the morning than usual when the daytime shift starts work at around 06:00. Normally, trains are moved from 03:00.

    The length of time it takes for train services to get back to normal depends on the distance between a depot and a station. In a major city trains do not have so far to travel, but for rural areas it may take several hours.

    However, it's not just Friday morning when there will be disruption. Some train operators will wind-down services slightly earlier than normal, ahead of the next planned strike on Saturday.

    Passengers are urged to check for amendments to train companies' timetables.

  4. ‘I commute to work by kayaking down a Welsh river’

    Hamzah Abbas

    BBC News

    Rail strikes have been causing disruption across much of the UK this week, with people struggling to get to work.

    But for one commuter, the walkouts were never going to be an issue.

    George Bullard has been kayaking to the office since 2015, a mode of transport he chose because it was "an interesting way to get to work".

    He travels to his workplace in Presteigne in Wales, where he runs a camping company, by kayaking down the River Lugg, when it's safe to do so.

    But he warns against others following suit, saying it can be dangerous without the right experience.

    Read more here.

  5. Strikes will cost hospitality sector half a billion in lost revenue - trade body

    Image caption: Strike action means stations such as Euston in London will not have the same footfall as normal

    It's estimated the rail strikes will cost the UK hospitality sector over half a billion pounds in lost revenue across the three planned days of action.

    And the impact will be felt particularly keenly in the capital, says one industry insider.

    "London is proportionately more dense in terms of hospitality venues and so [the impact] will be disproportionately higher ," says Tony Sophoclides, strategic affairs director for UK Hospitality.

    He tells the BBC the walkouts will cost London hospitality around £70m in lost trading, "which is really not what we need at the moment".

    Less than 20% of services were expected to run on Thursday, but - unlike the first day of strikes on Tuesday - London Underground union members have not been striking and the tube has been run as normal, with only minor disruption.

  6. Thursday's rail strike hitting high streets even harder - retail analyst

    High street footfall in the UK was 16.1% lower to 13:00 BST on Thursday than on the same day last week, and down 8.5% on Tuesday, retail analysts Springboard has said.

    In central London, the drop from last week was more than double the national average, down 34.4%, compared with a fall of 27% on Tuesday.

    Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: "On the second day of train strikes, it appears that not only are people working from home, but fewer people are visiting their local high streets.

    "The key fact is that the impact of the strike today appears to be even greater than the first strike."

  7. To travel or not to travel...

    Jo Black

    Reporting from Stratford-Upon-Avon

    Stratford-upon-Avon, the town where William Shakespeare was born, is one of the most popular tourist destinations outside London.

    And in a post-Covid world, a rail strike affecting how people travel is something local businesses are worried about.

    One ice-cream vendor told us his ice-cream sales are down 20%, something he blames on this week's rail strikes.

    But most visitors we’ve spoken to today have driven here or come by coach.

    Guides with microphones followed by lines of tourists wearing headphones have been making their way about the town.

    Elsewhere, the manager of Tudor World, a local museum has told us that he has seen more children coming through the door.

    He thinks this might be because some families impacted by the rail strike are taking advantage of having the time off and bringing their whole family here for a day out.

    Tourism bosses are worried as businesses try to recover after Covid the rail strike is the last thing they need and if the strikes continue in to the weekend - as expected - the impact could be significant.

  8. Union members accept 7.1 % pay offer from Merseyrail

    In Merseyside, union members have accepted a 7.1% pay offer from Merseyrail in a deal they have praised for being in keeping with the spiralling cost of living.

    Some 94% of Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) members in general grades voted to accept the deal.

    Workers for the main RMT rail union who are striking today are asking for similar pay rises of 7%.

    The Merseyside rail operator, which is not involved in the national dispute, is run by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, led by Labour Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

    General Secretary Manuel Cortes described the deal as "a sensible outcome to a reasonable offer which goes a long way towards keeping pace with the escalating cost of living".

    Merseyrail confirmed it had met union representatives “as part of our normal annual pay negotiations”.

    The deal comes after it was agreed in March to give London's Tube workers an 8.4% pay rise.

  9. Who else is threatening strikes?

    It's worth noting that it's not just rail workers threatening industrial action. Teachers, healthcare workers and even criminal barristers are considering or have approved proposals to strike over pay, conditions and workloads.

    And this afternoon, hundreds of British Airways check-in staff at Heathrow Airport have voted to go on strike over the summer.

    Members of the GMB and Unite unions want a 10% pay cut, imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, to be reversed.

    British Airways has offered them a one-off 10% payment - and says it's extremely disappointed. The vote threatens further disruption for travellers after the Easter break was marred by delays and cancellations.

    Meanwhile, teachers represented by the National Education Union are also likely to be asked in the autumn term whether they wish to walk out over pay and conditions, amid demands for an inflation-matching pay rise for teachers.

    And members of the Criminal Bar Association, which represents barristers who prosecute and defend people on trial, have already approved strikes this summer over the government's funding of the criminal justice system.

  10. Union to ballot TransPennine Express for strike action

    More railway workers are to vote on strikes over pay, conditions and job security.

    The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) served notice to ballot dozens of members at TransPennine Express (TPE), it was announced on Thursday.

    TPE runs trains across northern England and Scotland.

    The union is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for 2022, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living.

    The ballot opens on 29 June and closes in mid-July.

    The TSSA is also balloting its members in Network Rail, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, Northern, LNER, C2C and Great Western Railway (GWR).

  11. Call off rail strikes as quickly as possible - Downing Street

    Unions should call off the train strikes "as quickly as possible", Downing Street says.

    A No 10 spokesman says there were talks between the RMT and Network Rail today, but "what we want to see is for the unions to call off the strikes, to continue to negotiate and to come to an agreement with their employer."

    "We don't want to see this strike action to continue for a moment longer than it has to," he adds.

    Asked if this was possible before Saturday's strike, he says: "That's a question for the unions."

    The Government has not been informed of any further rail strikes after this week, the official says.

  12. Rush hour? Not at Glasgow Queen Street station

    Jamie McIvor

    BBC Scotland News Correspondent

    Image caption: Glasgow Queen Street if far quieter today than normal

    Here at Queen Street station it's far quieter than you would normally expect it to be at four o'clock in the afternoon.

    I reckon there are about 30 passengers around the station at the moment.

    In fact, the four o'clock train to Edinburgh, one of the few trains running from Queen Street this afternoon, was actually cancelled.

    But that was nothing to do with the industrial action. According to the announcement at the station, there was an obstruction on the line and the 16:30 BST train to Edinburgh would be 15 minutes late because of that.

    After that there are two more trains to Edinburgh. Clearly there could be problems here with the knock-on effect of that incident continuing. But certainly what I have noticed, compared to the first strike on Tuesday, is there have been far fewer people turning up at the station.

  13. Footfall down 70% at Paddington station - Network Rail

    Celestina Olulode

    BBC News

    Rail services are winding down at Paddington station on day two of the three-day rail strikes. Services are due to shut down early at 6.30pm.

    According to Network Rail, by 11:30am on Thursday footfall at Paddington was down by 70% compared to the same time last Thursday.

    Looking across the concourse it’s clear that many passengers have heeded Network Rail’s advice and stayed away.

    But earlier a number of passengers arrived to catch trains to the Glastonbury music festival. Bethan arrived one hour earlier to avoid delays.

    Special services to Castle Cary, the station nearest to the festival in Pilton, were put on for passengers trying to get to the site.

  14. Trains in Scotland disrupted after lorry crashes onto tracks

    Image caption: The lorry crashed onto the tracks in East Lothian

    Train services in and out of Edinburgh have been delayed after a lorry crashed onto the tracks in East Lothian.

    The driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital following the accident on the East Coast Main Line between Wallyford and Prestonpans at about 13:30.

    Services between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh via Falkirk High and Bathgate have been disrupted.

    Services between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh via Shotts have also been affected.

    Read more here.

  15. More strikes extremely likely, says union boss

    Returning to our coverage of the train strikes and we understand more walkouts are "extremely likely" if talks between rail bosses and unions continue to fail.

    Trains ground to a halt across much of England, Wales and Scotland on Thursday, with about half the network closed.

    RMT boss Mick Lynch has accused the government of blocking a deal, after talks on Wednesday collapsed - but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called suggestions the government had intervened "a total lie".

    But Network Rail said it was the RMT, not the government which stalled latest negotiations.

    The rail strikes come as hundreds of British Airways workers at Heathrow Airport have voted to go on strike over pay, raising the threat of a summer of disruption.

    Lynch meanwhile has said talks would continue and members would be consulted to see "if and when there needs to be a new phase of industrial action" on the railways.

    A third day of train strikes is currently set for Saturday 25 June.

  16. British Airways staff at Heathrow 'say enough is enough'

    Theo Leggett

    BBC International Business Correspondent

    What's unusual is that this ballot wasn't about pay increases, people saying their pay should go up to keep pace with the cost of living, this was about workers at Heathrow, mainly female check-in staff, part-time workers.

    They wanted to go back to pay levels they had before the pandemic - if you remember, a couple of years ago, the aviation industry was in crisis, and as a result, the airline puts a lot of pressure on staff to accept pay reductions.

    That happened at British Airways and these staff, about 700 of them, had to have their pay cut by around 10%. Now they want it back.

    British Airways is not doing that, what they did offer was a 10% one-off payment this year while other negotiations continue.

    The ground crews unions, GMB and Unite, say that's not good enough, they want a commitment that they are going to get back what they lost.

    BA says the airline industry still isn't back up and running properly yet, there are still problems, it’s still not profitable, it lost £4bn over the past two years.

    Therefore, we have a conflict between two sides and now the workers have decided enough is enough, they're going to go out on strike.

    When will we see these strikes?

    There will probably a few days of disruption in the second half of July and then in August.

    We understand BA has contingency plans, so that's likely to be, for example, managers operating check in desks, but we'll have to wait and see how serious any disruption is going to be.

  17. BA needs to minimise disruption from strikes - No 10

    British Airways should make contingency plans to minimise disruption and refund passengers whose flights are impacted by strikes, the prime minister's spokesman says.

    "This is obviously a matter for British Airways and the unions and we would strongly encourage both to come together to find a settlement," the spokesman continues.

    He says further disruption will only "add to the misery being faced by passengers at airports."

  18. BA 'extremely disappointed' over vote to strike

    British Airways says it's "extremely disappointed" after 700 workers based at Heathrow voted in favor of strike action in a dispute over pay.

    Unions say the action was due to a 10% pay cut imposed during the peak of the pandemic not being reinstated.

    In a statement, BA says: "Despite the extremely challenging environment and losses of more than £4bn, we made an offer of a [one off] 10% payment which was accepted by the majority of other colleagues." They said that included staff from ground operations, engineering and cabin crew.

    A spokesperson says: "We are fully committed to work together to find a solution, because to deliver for our customers and rebuild our business we have to work as a team."

    BA says it will update customers on what the decision will mean for them.

  19. No easy compromise over BA strikes, says travel expert

    Image caption: Heathrow has already been hit by chaos this summer

    The looming strikes at Heathrow will only feed into the "uncertainty" of travel this summer, says one industry expert, who blames airlines for "not paying enough" to staff.

    Paul Charles, who runs a PR agency specialising in luxury travel, said airlines in general were "really struggling to deliver the quality of service needed" at a time of flight cancellations, staff shortages and caps on flights.

    "The demand is there," he told the BBC, but the airlines were "not paying enough and therefore not attracting enough staff".

    "Wages are not seen as competitive," said Mr Charles, which led many to abandon their jobs during the pandemic in favour of other industries.

    "Perks and benefits have been changed in the face of awful losses," he added and, in the face of losses of £4bn during the pandemic, "BA has not been able to put workers back in the position they were in".

    "It's going to take some time to sort this dispute out. There is no easy compromise here."

  20. British Airways strike: Why are staff striking and will my flight be affected?

    Airlines had already been struggling with staff shortages, and now face further disruption after aviation workers at Heathrow voted to strike.

    What are the strikes about?

    Those walking out include 700 British Airways (BA) check-in and ground staff who complain that a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic remains - while other BA workers have been given a 10% bonus.

    But BA dismissed their claims, saying that "after a deeply difficult two years... these colleagues were offered a 10% payment for this year which was rejected".

    Which routes will be affected?

    The BBC understands that BA - which operates from terminals three and five at the airport - has contingency plans in place, which could include managers dealing with check-ins.

    However, customers could still potentially face disruption and possibly some cancellations, in particular on routes with several daily flights.

    The strike dates will be confirmed in the coming days.

    Read more here

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