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1968: Rail go-slow begins
The country's rail network has been thrown into disarray by the National Union of Railwaymen's (NUR) work-to-rule.

The union, which rejected a last minute pay and productivity offer by British Rail (BR) on Saturday, began its work to rule and ban on overtime at midnight last night.

Frustrated passengers were left stranded at train stations overnight as services, not due to arrive at their destination until after midnight, were cancelled from 2200BST yesterday.

The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) is expected to join the dispute today, which will inevitably cause further cancellations and delays.

'Grave consequences'

The chaos is expected to become worse as the week progresses as more than 20 per cent of railway work is carried out on overtime.

Barbara Castle, Secretary for Employment and Productivity, has made it clear the government will not intervene in this latest dispute.

But the government has said that contingency plans have been drawn up to ensure all essential supplies and services are maintained.

In major cities around the country emergency car parks are being opened and in London parking meter charges and time limits are being suspended.

The AA is operating an emergency control centre in Hyde Park.

On Saturday BR put forward a last minute deal which would have seen all but a handful of workers receiving a three per cent pay increase.

But to meet the 8.5m cost of this increase BR required the unions to allow cleaning work and some porters' duties to be contracted out.

The NUR rejected the offer by 20 votes to three and is maintaining its demand of a nine per cent pay increase for all 300,000 of its members.

Leonard Neal, British Rail Board member for industrial relations, warned that the go-slow would bring "grave consequences to the industry, to the travelling public and, not least of all, to the railwaymen."

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A sign warning of disruption
Many overnight services have been cancelled



In Context
The rail strike lasted 12 days in total and caused massive disruption to the network.

On Friday 5 July 1968 the work-to-rule was called off after the NUR accepted a peace offer from British Rail.

The deal provided pay increases for all the union's members - 10s a week extra for the lowest paid and three per cent extra for all the others.

Aslef, who had joined the strike, also reached a settlement with BR and train services returned to normal fairly rapidly.

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