Commuters are set to face major disruptions over the upcoming bank holiday weekend as Network Rail workers plan to stage a 24-hour walkout.
This is the first time in 20 years that National Rail workers are going on a national strike. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has described the walk-out as possibly “the most disruptive rail strike in living memory”.
Workers will walk out on 5pm on May 25. They will also ban overtime for 48 hours on the bank holiday Monday and Tuesday.
Workers are striking over a pay dispute. They rejected a four-year deal offered by Network Rail worth £500 this year and three years of increases matching RPI inflation. They also rejected a no compulsory redundancy commitment to December 2016 for nearly 16,000 staff.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have decisively rejected the pay package offered by Network Rail and the failure of the company to make any moves whatsoever in light of the overwhelming vote in the ballot has left us with no option but to move to a rolling programme of industrial action.
“We have a massive mandate for action which shows the anger of safety-critical staff across the rail network at attacks on their standards of living and their job security.
“It is appalling that NR are refusing point blank to take this dispute seriously, to understand the deep-seated grievance felt by their staff and to come forward with a renewed offer which protects pay, jobs and safety.”
He added: “We expect rock solid support for this action and will be taking a new campaign to the public under the banner: Our Jobs – Your Safety, as we build support for the fight to stop this attack on a workforce whose core role is to deliver a safe railway to the British people.”
Rail chaos for millions as unions plan first UK strike in 20 years