Railway staff will strike for 3 days later this month and “shut down the system” based on a union boss, threatening journey chaos for commuters and people heading to main occasions together with the Glastonbury pageant.
The RMT mentioned that as much as 50,000 of its members throughout Network Rail, 13 prepare operators and on London Underground would stroll out on 21 June within the “biggest outbreak of industrial action in the UK since 1989”.
An estimated 40,000 rail staff – excluding the Tube members – would strike on 23 and 25 June, the union added.
The strike dates observe ballots that ended final month.
There are three points on the coronary heart of the dispute for the union: pay, obligatory redundancies and security issues.
The row stems from authorities calls for for financial savings on a community that was propped up by the taxpayer when passenger numbers collapsed through the COVID disaster.
The pay challenge is sophisticated by the multitude of rail working corporations concerned however none, it will appear, have met union calls for for rises in keeping with inflation – at present at a 40-year excessive.
RMT normal secretary Mick Lynch mentioned: “Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.
“We have a value of residing disaster, and it’s unacceptable for railway staff to both lose their jobs or face one other yr of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1% and rising.
THE SERVICES FACING STRIKE ACTION
- Chiltern Railways
- Cross Country Trains
- Greater Anglia
- East Midlands Railway
- Northern Trains
- South Eastern
- South Western Railway
- Great Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
- Avanti West Coast
- West Midlands Trains
“Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.
“Rail corporations are making no less than £500m a yr in income, while fats cat rail bosses have been paid hundreds of thousands through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.
“RMT is open to significant negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, however they might want to provide you with new proposals to forestall months of disruption on our railways.”
The authorities had mentioned final month that contingency plans have been being put in place to mitigate the influence of any strikes however freight companies – to keep up the circulate of products – must be prioritised over passenger trains.
Events that could possibly be affected embrace Glastonbury, which begins on 22 June and runs till the twenty sixth, and the British athletics championships in Manchester.
The looming industrial motion might be seen as a serious take a look at of Boris Johnson’s administration because it seeks to focus on the problems dealing with the nation, equivalent to tackling the value of residing disaster, within the wake of the slender victory for the PM in Monday’s confidence vote amongst Conservative MPs.
Disruption brought on by the London Underground dispute has additionally coincided with bother for passengers as airports and airways grapple workers shortages which have compelled the cancellation of flights for a number of months and extreme delays too – most not too long ago over the half-term holidays.
Potentially hampering significant negotiations is dangerous blood between the transport secretary Grant Shapps and the union motion.
Comments in a Sunday Telegraph interview, by which Mr Shapps mentioned the federal government was drawing up legal guidelines that will guarantee minimal service ranges throughout industrial motion, have raised union hackles.
He mentioned of the deliberate strikes: “It is incredibly disappointing the RMT have decided to take action that could drive passengers away from the rail network for good.
“The pandemic has modified journey habits – with 25% fewer ticket gross sales and the taxpayer stepping in to maintain the railways working at a value of £16bn, equal to £600 per family. We should act now to place the business on a sustainable footing.
“We are working with industry to reduce disruption caused by strike action, but Unions are jumping the gun by announcing this when talks have only just begun.
“We as soon as once more wish to urge the unions to return to talks with the rail business so we are able to work collectively to construct a greater, extra trendy, passenger-focussed, railway.”
Chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, Steve Montgomery, admitted that “important disruption might be inevitable” should the action take place while Network Rail’s chief executive, Andrew Haines, held out hope that a deal could be agreed to avert the strikes.
“We proceed to fulfill with our trades unions to debate their pay issues and we’re doing all the things we are able to to keep away from strike motion on the railway,” he said in a statement.
“We know that the price of residing has elevated and we wish to give our individuals a pay rise, however the RMT should recognise we’re a public physique and any pay enhance must be inexpensive for taxpayers.
“Travel habits have changed forever and the railway must change as well. We cannot expect to take more than our fair share of public funds, and so we must modernise our industry to put it on a sound financial footing for the future. Failure to modernise will only lead to industry decline and more job losses in the long run.”