A union leader has said he “cannot see a way out from the strikes” which could hit the rail sector from next month, adding that workers need a pay rise.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a ballot over jobs and pay, threatening huge disruption. The union will have to give two weeks’ notice of strikes, which could start in mid-June.
On whether a strike is inevitable, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme:
I cannot see a way out from the strikes at the moment unless there is a breakthrough and the Government instructs these companies – which they are doing to change their line rather than harden their line – it is very, very likely there will be strike action and it will be very soon.
Staff walkouts could lead to much of the rail network being closed. Union leaders will decide next week when to call strikes after workers overwhelmingly backed industrial action over jobs, pay, and conditions.
On 24 May, transport minister baroness Vere said it was “very important that we try and prioritise rail freight wherever we can because it’s very important to supply chains”.
Freight operators are holding discussions with Network Rail about the impact from strikes by its signallers. It’s possible that around 80% of services will be cut, with trains running for just part of the day and only on main lines.
The government and rail firms have previously criticised the move, calling it “hugely disappointing and premature”, and warning the action could affect the rail industry’s recovery from the damage caused by coronavirus.
RMT declares overwhelming mandate for national strike action on railways Railway workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action across Network Rail and the train operating companies.https://t.co/xaa6nORJTUpic.twitter.com/DyYrMwjcus
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