Rail strike announced for 27 July

A UK-wide train strike has been announced for 27 July.

Workers at rail operators and Network Rail will stage a 24-hour walkout, the RMT union has announced, in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Union leaders announced the strike after rejecting a pay offer from Network Rail, which they described as “paltry”.

Workers were offered a 4 per cent pay rise backdated to January, another 2 per cent rise next year and an additional 2 per cent contingent on “modernisation milestones” being bet.

Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said: “The offer from Network Rail represents a real terms pay cut for our members and the paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives.

“We have made progress on compulsory redundancies, but Network Rail are still seeking to make our members poorer when we have won in some cases double what they are offering, with other rail operators.

“The train operating companies remain stubborn and are refusing to make any new offer which deals with job security and pay.

“Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and Government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes, until we get a negotiated settlement.

“The public who will be inconvenienced by our strike action need to understand that it is the Government’s shackling of Network Rail and the TOCs that means the rail network will be shut down for 24 hours.”

Members of the train drivers union Aslef working for eight train operators have also overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a series of ballots.

The long-distance rail firms that face stoppages are LNER, GWR, and TransPennine Express.

In addition five commuter-focused operators are affected: Chiltern, London Overground (run by Arriva), Northern, Southeastern and West Midlands.

No dates have been announced for industrial action, and at least two weeks’ notice must be given of any strike.

Aslef’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, said: “We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies driven by the government.

“Many of our members – who were, you will remember, the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – have not had a pay rise since 2019.

“With inflation running at north of 10 per cent that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years. We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021.”

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, said: “We want to see rail unions engage with train operators over the reforms needed to secure a bright long-term future for the industry, including working with Aslef to deliver the more punctual, reliable services we know passengers care about.

“Instead of causing further disruption to passengers and businesses, we urge the Aslef leadership to continue talks.”

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