By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 15 July 2022 • 8:41
RMT strike - Image Leighton Collins/Shutterstock.com
The dates announced on Friday, July 15 will see more than 40,000 staff “down tools” on August 18 and 20 affecting some 14 rail companies affected. The new dates are in addition to the 24-hour strike called for July 27.
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, told Sky News: “By announcing even more strike dates, the RMT has dropped any pretence that this is about reaching a deal.
“It’s clear the best interests of passengers and our staff are taking second place to the union’s bosses’ political campaign.”
The RMT’s General Secretary Mick Lynch countered the claim saying: “The rail industry and the government need to understand that this dispute will not simply vanish.
“They need to get serious about providing an offer on pay which helps deal with the cost-of-living crisis, job security for our members and provides good conditions at work.
“We remain open for talks, but we will continue our campaign until we reach a negotiated settlement.”
The rail companies affected are Network Rail, Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains and GTR (including Gatwick Express).
The announcement also comes days after the ASLEF Union announced that their members will strike on Jul 30.
Striking a more conciliatory tone Mick Whelan, Aslef General Secretary, said: “We don’t want to go on strike – strikes are the result of a failure of negotiation – and this union since I was elected general secretary in 2011, has only ever been on strike, until this year, for a handful of days.
“We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – not least because our friends and families use public transport, too, and we believe in building trust in the railways in Britain – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike.
“But we’ve been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory government.”
Further ballots could see additional strikes take place at Arriva Rail London; Chiltern Railways; Greater Anglia; Great Western; Hull Trains; LNER; Southeastern; and West Midlands Trains.
The companies involved in the RMT strikes are Network Rail, Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains and GTR (including Gatwick Express).
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps kept up his attack on the unions saying: “It’s incredibly disappointing that, just three days after their ballots closed, Aslef bosses have already opted for destructive strike action, instead of engaging in constructive talks.
“Not only that but, by seemingly co-ordinating strike dates around the Commonwealth Games, its clear union bosses are determined to cause as much misery as possible and derail an event the whole country is looking forward to.”
With inflation running around nine per cent so far this year, the unions have rejected a four per cent offer with a potential further four per cent in 2023 based on performance and changes in working practices.
With a further two more days of strikes announced rail users in the UK will once again be inconvenienced, with some of the strikes set to happen around dates designed to affect the most people.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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