Footie fans hit hardest by train strikes as over half happen on Saturdays, ahead of another walkout tomorrow | The Sun

FOOTIE fans are being hit hardest by militant train strikes as more than half take place on Saturdays.

Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea fans face more misery to get to games tomorrow as RMT chief Mick Lynch and his union host yet another walkout.

Five of 11 strike days since June have taken place on Saturdays, hammering sports fans, families on weekend breaks and travellers.

Fans attending five Premiership games this Saturday will have to battle with just one in five trains running.

Pubs, restaurants and other battered hospitality businesses will see their trade take another whack, and NHS staff and shift workers will also face huge disruption to get to work.

Saturday rail numbers have bounced back above pre-Covid levels with around 3.5million journeys a day.

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But strike days have seen numbers drop back to just one million journeys.

A rail industry source urged unions to get back around the table to agree a deal on pay and reforms as soon as possible.

They said: “These strikes continue to disrupt football fans, leisure travellers, shift workers and undermine the many hospitality businesses who struggle with rising costs and reduced footfall and further action by the trade unions will only further damage the railway’s recovery.

"Passengers are equally getting frustrated with the continued strikes; particularly on a Saturday, where people want to be able to enjoy their weekend plans, and the disruption may force people back into their cars."

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Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, hit out: "Given Saturday is usually the busiest day of the week for most hospitality venues, another weekend rail strike will be a further blow to businesses in the sector which are already grappling with record staff shortages and facing a tsunami of rising costs."

A union source said: "RMT is not targeting football fans and we are sorry for any disruption to people's lives.

"However, railway workers are having their lives disrupted by the threat of losing their jobs and suffering multi-year pay freezes.

"They have no other option but to strike until a negotiated settlement can be found with the railway industry."

It came as the industry regulator pointed out that striking maintenance rail workers are already paid a fifth more than similar roles.

The Office of Rail and Road said workers demanding double-digit pay hikes are already on salaries 18 per cent.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, the public sector body that employs signal workers and other maintenance staff, said: “As the ORR’s report found, we provide a competitive package in line with market rates to reward and attract the best talent.

"As a public sector body, we balance this with the need to spend public money sensibly.

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Meanwhile, millions of nurses will also vote in their first ever UK-wide strike action.

And emergency 999 call handlers also joined a strike with colleagues from BT in a row over pay.

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