Published: 13:07, 23 June 2022
| Updated: 15:49, 23 June 2022
The rail strike has cut off the Isle of Sheppey.
Gates at Sheerness station remained padlocked.
The only sign of life was a lone worker in the ticket office explaining to any passengers who turned up why they couldn't let the train take the strain.
The shutters at the entrance to the platforms were pulled down and there were signs stuck to gates, doors and ticket machines announcing: "There are no trains today due to industrial action."
They added that the first train from Sheerness tomorrow (Friday) will not be until 8.15am and warned: "There may also be further disruption to this because of staff not being available and trains being in the wrong place overnight."
The Sheerness branch line is used by commuters to London and by pupils travelling to secondary schools in Sittingbourne and students from the mainland accessing the Sheppey College.
The Royal Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) is staging three days of strikes over job cuts, pay and conditions.
The first was on Tuesday and the third will be on Saturday. More strikes are threatened.
The union, which has pickets outside Maidstone East railway station, wants the threat of compulsory redundancies removed and is demanding a pay rise in line with soaring inflation.
Maidstone Greens have showed their solidarity with local rail workers at the picket line at Maidstone East.
Meeting the team on the picket line, Cllr Stuart Jeffery said, “This is a fight that must be won. The RMT are not asking for anything outrageous, just a reasonable pay rise and for their jobs, conditions and the safety of the railways to be protected.
“Two years ago the government asked us to clap key workers, now they are standing idle while the train operating companies threaten redundancies and reduce safety inspections. The government needs to be at the table, this is public transport after all.
“We offer solidarity to the strikers and will stand with them to protect our rail services and workers.”
Network Rail and the train operators, including Southeastern which serves Kent, insist modernisation is vital and are seeking to reduce overheads and use more new technology. Network Rail plans to cut 2,500 maintenance jobs as it tries to save £2bn over the next two years.
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