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Rail strikes: anger as UK government refuses to join last-ditch talks

Millions face week of cancelled services and union leaders warn industrial action could spread

The government is facing growing anger over its refusal to join last-ditch talks to avert the biggest rail strike for three decades, with millions of people facing a week of cancelled trains and union leaders warning industrial action could spread.

With 40,000 rail workers due to join three daylong walkouts this week, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, insisted it was not the government’s job to negotiate with the unions over pay, conditions, job cuts and safety.

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