Railway workers will go on strike next week, adding to a summer already hit by major travel disruptions.
Union bosses also announced new measures for the month of August.
It comes after 40,000 workers went on strike for three days in June, halting 80% of services and causing travel chaos across the country.
The Railway, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has criticized Network Rail for its “paltry” wage offer, which it says amounts to a pay cut in real terms for workers.
Train drivers from eight railway companies agreed to a separate strike on July 30 over a pay dispute.
Here’s everything you need to know about strikes.
When are the next rail strikes?
The RMT has planned strikes for:
- Wednesday July 27
- Thursday August 18
- Saturday August 20
The strike is expected to include 40,000 workers – around 20,000 from Network Rail, including signaling and track maintenance workers – and the rest from 14 rail operating companies, the 13 which took action last month last, as well as Govia Thameslink.
This means the disruption will likely be similar to the June walkout, which means we can expect most trains to stop running and those running on a reduced timetable.
The strike on Wednesday July 27 comes a day before the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The railway companies involved in the strikes are:
- Chiltern Railways
- Cross country trains
- Greater England
- East Midlands Railway
- Great Western Railway
- Northern Trains
- South East
- South West Railway
- Trans Pennine Express
- Avanti west coast
- West Midlands Trains
- GTR (including Gatwick Express)
The TSSA union said its Avanti West Coast members would also strike on July 27, to coincide with the RMT action.
members of the Aslef union in eight companies; Chiltern, LNER, Northern, TransPennine Express, Arriva Rail London, Great Western, Southeastern and West Midlands will stage a separate strike on Saturday July 30.
A total of 5,500 staff will leave after pay talks collapsed, coinciding with the Commonwealth Games and the opening day of the new season for most English Football League clubs.
The action could have a ripple effect on services operating on Sundays.
Why are the workers striking?
Union leaders have rejected Network Rail’s “paltry” offer of a 4% pay rise, another 2% next year and another 2% on the condition of reaching “modernization milestones”.
Instead, they demanded a rise in line with inflation, which stands at almost 10%.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Network Rail’s offer represents a real pay cut for our members and the pittance is conditional on RMT members accepting drastic changes to their working lives.
“We have made progress on forced redundancies, but Network Rail still seeks to impoverish our members when we have earned in some cases double what they are offering, along with other rail operators.
“Railway operating companies remain stubborn and refuse to make any new offers that deal with job security and wages.
“The strike is the only avenue open to us to make it clear to both the rail industry and the government that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes, until we achieve a negotiated settlement. .
‘The public who will be inconvenienced by our strike action must understand that it is the Government’s chaining of Network Rail and TOCs which means the rail network will be closed for 24 hours.’
Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: ‘By announcing yet more strike dates, the RMT has abandoned any pretense that it was about reaching an agreement.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the RMT was “committed to causing more misery for people across the country”.
He accused the union of planning “the best way to cause more chaos”, saying the strike was “cynically timed” to disrupt the opening of the Commonwealth Games.
“The industry is already on life support and by insisting on working against its employers, rather than with them, the RMT risks pulling the plug for good,” Mr Sapps said.
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