RMT union bosses announce MORE rail strikes on June 21, 23 and 25 plus another 24-hour Tube stoppage


RMT union bosses announce MORE rail strikes on June 21, 23 and 25 plus another 24-hour Tube stoppage on June 21

  • Thousands of railways workers have opted to stage three days of strikes in June 
  • Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and 13 train operators voted to strike
  • It takes place on June 21, 23 and 25 with a further strike planned for London Tube
  • RMT said rail staff who worked through the pandemic were facing pay freezes

Thousands of railway workers are to stage three days of strikes later this month in the biggest outbreak of industrial action in the industry in a generation, it has been announced.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on June 21, 23 and 25.

The RMT also announced another 24-hour strike on London Underground in a separate row over jobs and pensions.

Tube workers will strike on June 21 to coincide with the first rail strike, threatening widespread travel chaos.

Mick Lynch, boss of the militant RMT union, which is planning a wave of rail strikes this summer

Mick Lynch, boss of the militant RMT union, which is planning a wave of rail strikes this summer 

Leicester Square station shut this morning amid the strike action organised by the RMT union

Leicester Square station shut this morning amid the strike action organised by the RMT union 

The union said it will be the biggest strike on the railways since 1989.

Union members voted overwhelmingly for action last month in growing rows over pay and job losses.

The RMT said rail staff who worked through the pandemic were facing pay freezes and hundreds of job cuts.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘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 cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1% and rising.

‘Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.

‘Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, whilst fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.

Summer of Discontent: Fears mount over a repeat of the infamous winter of 1978 as slew of strikes set for coming months 

Fears are mounting of a repeat of the 1978 ‘Winter of Discontent’ in which a slew of strikes by waste workers, gravediggers and lorry drivers resulted in squalid conditions for Brits under Labour PM Jim Callaghan. 

It comes as unions have threatened a national rail strike which could see Network Rail forced to operate on a skeleton timetable to reserve tracks for the movement of goods – with passengers only having access to key services.

Civil servants have also threatened national strike action that could bring disruption to key infrastructure such as ports, courts and airports, after being offered a 2 per cent pay rise, which they deemed as insufficient amid the ongoing cost of living crisis that is currently causing inflation levels of 9 per cent. 

The head of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, Manuel Cortes, threatened the biggest disruption since the General Strike of 1926. 

But it is not only the railways that are set to be massively disrupted by strikes in the coming months. Holidaymakers travelling through Heathrow this summer will have to prepare for delays and slower service, as the GMB Union is balloting for strikes to take place at the airport.

Fears are mounting of a repeat of the 1978 'Winter of Discontent' in which a slew of strikes led to squalid living conditions across Britain

Fears are mounting of a repeat of the 1978 ‘Winter of Discontent’ in which a slew of strikes led to squalid living conditions across Britain

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‘RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways.’

The union said more than 50,000 railway workers will walk out on June 21, adding that the action will affect the national railway network for the entire week.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive, said: ‘We continue to meet with our trades unions to discuss their pay concerns and we’re doing everything we can to avoid strike action on the railway.

‘We know that the cost of living has increased and we want to give our people a pay rise, but the RMT must recognise we are a public body and any pay increase has to be affordable 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.

‘There are two weeks until the first strike is planned. We will use this time to keep talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that strike action would cause all involved.’

The union’s resistance to modernisation has been branded ‘absurd’, with one industry source last month revealing staff were blocked from using mobile phone apps to communicate during the pandemic. Ministers believe millions could be saved through modernisation.   

The GMB union is overseeing the threat of action at Heathrow.  

Nadine Houghton, its national officer, said: ‘Staff at Heathrow have been verbally and physically abused by angry passengers after British Airways’ staff shortages and IT failures nearly brought the airport to a standstill.

‘On top of that, they had their pay slashed during BA’s callous fire and rehire policy.

‘Now they want that money back. Bosses have had it back. Heathrow ground and check in staff want to know why they haven’t had it too.

‘Unrest is now starting to spread like wildfire to other groups of BA workers with many more now considering a vote to walk out.

‘British Airways faces a gruelling summer of travel chaos if they won’t give these workers what’s rightfully theirs.’   

Civil servants have also threatened national strike action that could bring disruption to key infrastructure such as ports, courts and airports, after being offered a 2 per cent pay rise, which they deemed as insufficient amid the ongoing cost of living crisis that is currently causing inflation levels of 9 per cent.

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