Train strike March 2023Train strike March 2023

News Round-Up

Sept 1: Concrete schools could collapse; Train drivers strike again; Hundreds of job losses at Wilko

Here are the headlines on Friday, September 1

Time 6:37 am, September 1, 2023

Ministers urged to name schools with collapse risk concrete

Ministers have been urged to ‘come clean’ about the scale of the problems facing England’s school buildings as thousands of pupils faced a disrupted start to term.

More than 100 schools and colleges were told to partially or fully close buildings as children prepared to return to classes after the summer holidays because of fears over concrete which could suddenly collapse.

The Department for Education (DfE) said a minority of the state facilities may have to move completely and some children may be forced back into pandemic-style remote learning. But the government has refused to publicly reveal the 104 education facilities which have been told to shut buildings, and critics warned the problems with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) could be far wider.

Drivers’ strike set to cripple rail services across the country

Rail passengers face fresh travel chaos on Friday because of another strike by drivers in the long-running dispute over pay, which will cripple services across the country.

The 24-hour walkout by members of Aslef will severely affect timetables, with trains starting later and finishing earlier than usual, with some areas having no trains all day. Drivers will also ban overtime on Saturday, coinciding with a strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in its dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Both unions blame the government for blocking any chance of a deal by refusing to allow train operators to make an offer they can recommend to their members. The dispute started over a year ago and remains deadlocked, with no talks planned and no sign of a breakthrough.

Harper to meet aviation chiefs after air traffic control disruption

Aviation chiefs will be urged by transport secretary Mark Harper to do everything possible to return passengers still left stranded by the air traffic control (ATC) failure.

Flights to and from UK airports were restricted for several hours on Monday afternoon as National Air Traffic Services (Nats) was unable to process flight plans automatically.

Harper is meeting Nats, the Civil Aviation Authority, Border Force, airlines, airports and trade groups on Friday ‘to discuss the latest situation ahead of the start of the new school year’ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Hundreds of job losses confirmed at Wilko as bidder misses deadline

Hundreds of jobs will be lost at Wilko in the first tranche of redundancies after a bid for the entirety of the collapsed retailer fell through.

A potential bidder, the only one which planned to protect all 12,500 employees and 400 Wilko sites, missed a deadline set by administrator PwC.

PwC said 269 support centre workers in Worksop and Newport will have their last day with the business on Monday. There will be further redundancies across the company’s two warehouses from early next week, it said. Exact numbers have yet to be confirmed but it is thought that around 1,600 people work across the warehouses and support centres.

Covid-19 hospital admissions in England at three-month high

Covid-19 hospital admissions in England are running at their highest rate for three months, in the latest sign the virus could be becoming more prevalent – though the figures remain well below levels seen earlier this year.

Admissions stood at 3.4 per 100,000 people in the week to August 27, unchanged from the previous seven days and the highest since mid-May, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Rates are highest among people aged 85 and over, at 34.2 per 100,000, and 75 to 84-year-olds, at 17.7. It is too soon to know whether the recent rise in admissions is linked to the latest Omicron variant of the virus, BA.2.86, which was first identified in the UK on August 18. Other factors, such as more social mixing in homes or among crowds at large indoor venues, may have contributed to the increase.

Thursday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Doubts over resurrection of Monarch Airlines

Plans to resurrect Monarch Airlines six years after it collapsed have been put in doubt.

A company named Monarch Airlines Limited has been registered at Companies House, and a website and social media activity began earlier this month, pledging to ‘usher in a new era for one of the UK’s favourite travel brands’. On Thursday, a statement on the website said the relaunch had been halted due to a lack of funds. But a post on the Instagram account @letsmonarchairlines insisted ‘we are not ceasing planning’ and hopes to restart flights from summer 2024.

The Civil Aviation Authority said it has not received an application for permission to fly commercial in the UK from Monarch Airlines Limited. Such an application would usually take at least 18 months to be considered.

Insurer’s data indicates when people are most likely to have a car collision

Families preparing to send their children back to school are being warned by an insurer that mid-afternoon can be a peak time for car collisions.

Claims data from Aviva indicates the highest number of collisions happen on Fridays between 3pm and 3.15pm. The insurer said its data shows that this 15-minute slot has held the top spot since 2020, and 2023 figures show no sign of the trend declining.

Aviva also said that its 2022 collision claims figures indicated that more than one in four collision claims were for incidents that happened between 2pm and 4pm. Censuswide research in August among nearly 800 parents across the UK who take their children to school or nursery was commissioned by Aviva.


Northern Ireland, southern Scotland and northern England will stay cloudy with showers easing throughout the day, reports BBC Weather. It’ll be sunny elsewhere with sharp showers. Temperatures between 17 and 22 degrees.

Showers will clear tonight leaving clear spells for many, although in northern parts variable cloud will linger.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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