Passengers have been warned not to travel by train during the disruption
Union leaders have confirmed that next week’s rail and Tube strikes will go ahead after talks failed to resolve a bitter row over pay, jobs and conditions.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said it had held discussions in the past few weeks at senior levels with Network Rail, train operators and London Underground.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “Despite the best efforts of our negotiators no viable settlements to the disputes have been created.”
He confirmed that strikes at Network Rail and 13 train operators will go ahead on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday, and on London Underground on Tuesday.
The action by tens of thousands of rail workers will cripple services for most of the week.
Mr Lynch said thousands of jobs were being cut across the rail networks and workers were facing below-inflation pay rises.
“In the face of this massive attack on our people the RMT cannot be passive,” its general secretary said.
Network Rail hits out at RMT after strike announced
Network Rail has responded to news of the strike confirmation.
“Yet again the RMT union are dismissing talks before we’ve even finished, with more planned for tomorrow,” a spokesperson said on Saturday.
“We’re serious about trying to find a solution and work out a compromise that gives our people a decent pay rise, but it has to be affordable for taxpayers and farepayers.
“Union demands have so far been unobtainable, and the union seems completely focussed on ‘take’, with very little ‘give’.
“It makes negotiating extremely challenging, but we will continue to try and find a way through to try and avert this needless and damaging strike.”
‘Over to you Grant Shapps’
The shadow employment rights secretary has said it is “over to you Grant Shapps” after the train strikes were confirmed:
Rail and Tube strikes will go ahead next week
Next week’s rail and Tube strikes will go ahead after talks failed to resolve a row over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMT union announced.
All the trains running during the rail strike
During the planned nationwide rail strikes for three dates in late June, only 22 per cent of passenger train services will run – most of them on key links to and from London.
According to the RMT, it is “the biggest dispute on the network since 1989” and will involve 40,000 workers.
A senior rail source said the plan was to run “as decent a rail service as we can”.
Only around half of Britain’s rail network will be open on strike days, from around 7.30am until 6.30pm.
At Network Rail, the infrastructure provider, the most critical roles in the day-to-day running of the railway are 5,000 signallers.
Management and other staff are expected to cover about half the network for about 11 hours per day. Many lines will see no trains.
Read the full story here.
Watch: Minister pleads with striking rail workers to negotiate
Business minister Paul Scully earlier pleaded with rail workers planning to strike next week to “get round the table” for negotiations.
NHS patients urged to plan ahead for appointments during rail strikes
NHS patients in England are being urged to plan ahead for appointments as rail strikes are set to cause travel chaos next week.
Speaking ahead of the strikes, the NHS’s top doctor reminded people that “the NHS remains open” as he called on people to seek care when needed.
Millions of people are seen and treated in the NHS every week.
The strikes could have a particular impact on hospitals in London, many of which have limited parking capacity for those considering driving to appointments as an alternative.
As well as affecting patient appointments, the strikes may also hamper NHS staff commutes.
Labour says ‘any strike is a failure’ ahead of rail action
Labour’s Emily Thornberry, shadow attorney general, said “any strike is a failure” as rail workers prepare for mass industrial action next week.
Ms Thornberry said it was the responsibility of government to negotiate with rail bosses and listen to their concerns.
When do train strikes start?
After members of the RMT rail union voted 8:1 in favour of strike action over jobs, pay and conditions, their union has called nationwide rail strikes for three dates in late June.
Union members at Network Rail and 13 train operators will stage 24-hour walkouts on 21, 23 and 25 June.
What could the effect be? And are other disputes on the horizon?
Simon Calder,The Independent’s Travel Correspondent, brings you the key questions and answers:
In the forthcoming strikes by Network Rail signallers, only about 20% of lines would be open for trains – many of which might not run anyway
Southeastern workers balloted for more strikes in July
More railway workers are to be balloted for strikes in escalating disputes over pay and jobs, increasing the threat of a summer of travel chaos.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) served notice to ballot hundreds of workers at Southeastern, saying it was demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living.
The ballot opens on 23 June and closes on 11 July, so action could start from 25 July.
TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “Our members at Southeastern are seeking basic fair treatment in the teeth of a crippling cost-of-living crisis.
“Rail workers were hailed as heroes in the pandemic and now they deserve a real terms pay rise which keeps pace with inflation, rather than shouldering the burden of the Tories’ economic meltdown.
“Our demands are simple – pay which reflects the times we live in, a deal which delivers job security, and no race to the bottom on terms and conditions.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The facts are clear: The median pay of rail workers in is £44,000, which is around 70 per cent above the national average. Railway workers have seen above average salary increases over the last decade.
“The industry is offering daily talks to resolve the strikes. We continue to encourage the unions to take them up on that offer and negotiate a fair deal for workers.”
Grant Shapps: ‘Rail strikes designed to inflict damage at worst possible time’
Next week’s rail strikes are “designed to inflict damage at the worst possible time”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
The Cabinet minister described the industrial action as an attempt to “derail reforms that are critical”.
The disputes have flared over pay, jobs and conditions.
In a speech at a train depot in north London, Mr Shapps said: “These strikes are not only a bid to derail reforms that are critical to the network’s future, and designed to inflict damage at the worst possible time, they are also an incredible act of self-harm by the union leadership.
“Make no mistake, unlike the past 25 years, when rising passenger demand year after year was taken for granted by the industry, today the railway is in a fight.
“It’s not only competing against other forms of public and private transport. It’s in a battle with Zoom, Teams and remote working.
“In case the unions haven’t noticed, the world has changed.”
Read the full story below:
Half of Britain’s rail lines will be closed during strikes on June 21, 23 and 25.