Bank holiday rail strike: ‘Services will be at a standstill,’ warn unions

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Rail services will be brought “to a standstill” by a strike over the bank holiday.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) will walk out from 5pm on Monday May 25.

The union warned that the biggest impact will be on the Tuesday: “Services will be at a standstill,” said one official.

The strike will affect football fans leaving Wembley after the Championship play-off final, which kicks off at 3pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

Services will also be affected by planned engineering work taking place over the bank holiday weekend.

The strike announcement follows a 4-1 vote in favour of industrial action by RMT members.

The RMT said it has rejected the latest Network Rail (NR) pay proposals as falling “well short” of what is required to maintain the living standards, job security and working conditions for nearly 16,000 staff across NR operations and maintenance.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have decisively rejected the pay package offered by Network Rail and the failure of the company to make any moves whatsoever in light of the overwhelming vote in the ballot has left us with no option but to move to a rolling programme of industrial action.

“We have a massive mandate for action which shows the anger of safety-critical staff across the rail network at attacks on their standards of living and their job security.

“It is appalling that NR are refusing point-blank to take this dispute seriously, to understand the deep-seated grievance felt by their staff and to come forward with a renewed offer which protects pay, jobs and safety.”

He added: “We have made it clear that as far as RMT Is concerned, the one-off, non-consolidated, lump sum payment this year is wholly inadequate and fails to recognise the massive pressures staff are working under to keep services running safely at a time when the company is generating profits of £1billion.

“It is our members battling to keep Britain moving around the clock and they deserve a fair share from Network Rail for their incredible efforts.

“In addition, we are extremely concerned that the no-compulsory-redundancy commitment only applies to the first two years of the four-year deal.

“RMT is in no doubt that this leaves operations and maintenance members extremely vulnerable, especially with the continued development of rail operating centres and the ongoing cuts programme at Network Rail.”