Unions say ‘biggest rail strike’ in modern history will bring Britain ‘to a standstill’

The rail, shipping and transport union is to have more than 40,000 workers vote on possible backlash over wages and jobs. Passengers could expect disruptions as early as June

Union leaders have warned a strike could paralyze the country
Union leaders have warned a strike could paralyze the country

Union leaders are threatening to bring the country to a ‘standstill’ in what may be the biggest rail strike in modern history.

The Rail, Shipping and Transport Union (RMT) is to have more than 40,000 workers vote on possible subsequent industrial action over wages and jobs.

If members support the move, passengers could face disruptions as early as June.

The RMT claims Network Rail plans to scrap at least 2,500 “safety-critical” maintenance jobs as part of a £2billion spending cut.

Employees at train operators were also exposed to wage freezes and changes to their terms and conditions, it said.

The RMT claims that Network Rail plans to remove at least 2,500 “safety-critical” service points



The election begins on April 26th and ends on May 24th.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Railway workers have had to deal with pay freezes, the prospect of job losses and repeated attacks on their working conditions.

“The elimination of 2,500 safety-critical jobs at Network Rail spells disaster for the public, increases the likelihood of accidents and increases the likelihood of trains going off the tracks.

“Train operating companies have commended our members for being key workers during the pandemic but have refused to adjust staff salaries for inflation and the rising cost of living.

“As a result, thousands of railroad workers have seen their living standards plummet and have run out of patience.”

Passengers could expect disruptions as early as June



Mr Lynch added: “A nationwide rail strike will bring the country to a standstill, but our members’ livelihoods and passenger safety are our priorities.”

Voting is among RMT members from Network Rail and more than a dozen railway companies including LNER, Great Western Railway and Northern Trains.

Network Rail Regional Director Tim Shoveller said: “Our railway has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and even as passenger numbers are beginning to recover, we know that travel habits and passenger demand have changed and so has the industry must change.

“We cannot continue to rely on government money and that is why we need to work with rail operators and our unions to save millions of pounds and create a more efficient railway.

“Our modernization program aims to build a sustainable future that serves passengers and creates better and safer jobs for our employees.

“We are disappointed that the RMT made this decision and once again urge them to work with us, not against us, as we build an affordable railroad fit for the future.”

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