Rail strikes to go ahead after last ditch talks fail to resolve dispute

The UK Government refused to take part in talks aimed at halting the strike action.

Rail strikes to go ahead after last ditch talks fail to resolve dispute iStock

Rail strikes across the UK will go ahead after last ditch talks failed to resolve a dispute over pay.

It comes after the UK Government refused to take part in the talks to avert transport chaos.

Downing Street had said the dispute is between the unions and employers.

And they stated that it “wouldn’t be helpful” for UK ministers to get involved.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) at Network Rail (NR) and 13 train operators will strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week.

It will mean severely reduced train services across the UK, with some routes not running at all.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Strikes should always be the last resort, not the first, so it is hugely disappointing and premature that the RMT is going ahead with industrial action.

“The Government committed £16bn – or £600 per household – to keep our railways running throughout the pandemic while ensuring not a single worker lost their job.

“The railway is still on life support, with passenger numbers 25% down and anything that drives away even more of them risks killing services and jobs.

“Train travel for millions more people is now a choice, not a necessity. Strikes stop our customers choosing rail and they might never return.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch accused the Government of having “actively prevented” a settlement to the dispute.

“The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead,” he said.

“It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4bn of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.

“The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.

“At the behest of the Government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.”

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