Half of Britain’s rail lines will be closed for three days this week during union strikes. And we want to know what you think and how you might be affected.
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Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Unite are walking out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions after last-ditch talks failed to come to a resolution.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps urged workers to reconsider the industrial action as the government planned to introduce legislation to enable the use of agency workers to fill staffing gaps “if the strike drags on”.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Instead of playing to the gallery for his own personal political ambitions, Mr Shapps needs to act like a pragmatic transport secretary who is willing to meet with the union and help us reach a negotiated settlement.”
The action will be the biggest rail strikes in 30 years, according to John Leach, assistant general secretary of the RMT union, who said workers were prepared for a “war of attrition” in pay negotiations with ministers.
As transport correspondent Simon Calder, sets out in this handy explainer, the strike coincides with a number of big events in late June including Glastonbury festival, by-elections at Tiverton & Honiton and Wakefield and the England v New Zealand cricket test in Leeds.
The government has also been warned the strikes could devastate the UK’s post-Covid recovery and cost key industries over £1bn.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry group UK Hospitality, warned tourism and leisure businesses were already fragile after pandemic lockdowns and would take a “big hit”.
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