The worker said disputes were not restricted to the rail industry, with BA, BT, teachers and others balloting members over industrial action, and it was a ‘sign of the times’.
More than 30 members of the RMT union set up two official pickets at 4am with tables, chairs, banners and leaflets to hand out.
They were joined by at least as many supporters including the Labour Party, Sheffield Left, students.
He added: “For us, it’s not just about pay. To the rank and file, terms and conditions and job security are top of the list. It doesn’t matter what you earn if they make you redundant next year.”
EMR staff outnumbered commuters at times as people followed advice to stay away. Platforms were eerily quiet, with stationary trains parked up and going nowhere.
Shops, cafes and taxi drivers reported a 70 per cent drop in trade.
Terence So, of Motore mobile coffee, said it was surreally quiet and takings were comparable to a stormy day.
The railway workers’ trade union, RMT, is planning strikes for Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June.
Rail operators around the region have advised customers to avoid travelling on the network.