Network Rail workers have announced the first UK-wide rail strike for 20 years will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 25 May.
The industrial action is the result of a row over pay and could severely disrupt services, despite Network Rail previously vowing to do anything possible to keep services going, as signallers, maintenance staff and station workers are all on walk out.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said a ‘fair offer’ was on the table and warned that ‘rail passengers will not thank the unions for inflicting this unnecessary disruption’.
The RMT union, which held the strike ballot, said the main impact will be felt on Tuesday 26 May but the action is expected to hit what is normally a busy Bank Holiday travel period.
The current pay offer in dispute includes:
· 2015 – A £500 non-consolidated lump sum payment.
· 2016, 2017, 2018 - An RPI level of inflation increase in pay would be applied for each year.
· The “No Compulsory Redundancy” commitment would be extended until 31st December 2016.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the offer was ‘wholly inadequate’ and left the union ‘with no option but to move to a rolling programme of industrial action’.
The decision to strike comes after a massive vote in favour of industrial action from RMT members.
The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association union has also balloted members and the results are expected shortly.