Rail strikes to go ahead after last ditch talks fail to resolve dispute, RMT says

·3-min read
Three days of rail disruption will go ahead this week  (PA)
Three days of rail disruption will go ahead this week (PA)

The rail strikes are to go ahead after last ditch talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMTunion said.

Half of Britain’s rail lines will be closed on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday when members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Unite walk out over pay, jobs and conditions.

Services across the UK will start to be affected from Monday evening, with just one in five trains running on strike days, primarily on main lines and only for around 11 hours.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps issued a plea to those embarking on the three days of walkouts, warning they risked striking themselves out of a job.

The RMT said the train operators have now made an offer and there is no further offer from Network Rail following one which was rejected last Friday.

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.

Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union giving a statement on national rail dispute at the RMT Trade Union headquarters in London. (PA)
Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union giving a statement on national rail dispute at the RMT Trade Union headquarters in London. (PA)

“It is clear that the Tory government, after slashing £4bn of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.

“The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.

“At the behest of the government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.”

He said the government planned to introduce legislation to enable the use of agency workers during industrial action “if the strike drags on”.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson described the RMT announcement that strikes will go ahead as “deeply disappointing”.

“It is deeply disappointing that these disruptive and self-defeating strikes will take place this week,” said the spokesperson.

“Striking does nothing to address the long-standing issues that we need to sort to make sure that our railway, which the public use and treasure, is fit for the long term.

Strikes will go ahead this week starting on Tuesday (Getty Images)
Strikes will go ahead this week starting on Tuesday (Getty Images)

“We will continue to try to convince unions to negotiate.”

The spokesperson confirmed that the government had played no part in today’s negotiations.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have repeatedly urged the RMT not to go ahead with these damaging strikes and instead focus their energy on getting round the negotiating table and coming to an agreement with Network Rail.

“Sadly they have ignored these requests time and again, and we are now on the cusp of major disruption which will cause misery for people right across the country.

“Many people who do not get paid if they can't get to work face losing money at a time they simply can't afford to. Children sitting exams will face the extra distraction of changing their travel plans. And vulnerable people trying to attend long-awaited hospital appointments may have no choice but to cancel.

“By carrying out this action, the RMT is punishing millions of innocent people, instead of calmly discussing the sensible and necessary reforms we need to make in order to protect our rail network.”

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