More railway strikes set to hit East of England lines on Wednesday
- Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Another railway shutdown is expected on Wednesday as RMT trade union members stage a walkout over pay and working conditions.
Great Northern, Greater Anglia and East Midlands Railway are among the companies in the East of England which have advised passengers to avoid travelling by train on July 27.
The fresh walkout follows a major RMT strike between June 21 and June 25, which brought trains to a stop throughout the UK.
Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary, said the union is seeking assurances that rail company workers' jobs are secure.
He added that the four per cent pay rise offered to Network Rail workers amounts to a real-terms pay cut amid inflation rates which hit 9.4pc in June.
Mr Lynch said: "Strike action will take place next Wednesday as planned and our members are more determined than ever to secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions.
"Network Rail has not made any improvement on their previous pay offer and the train companies have not offered us anything new.
"In fact, Network Rail has upped the ante threatening to impose compulsory redundancies and unsafe 50pc cuts to maintenance work, if we did not withdraw our planned strike action.
"The train operating companies have put driver-only operations on the table along with ransacking our members terms and conditions.
"RMT will continue to negotiate in good faith but we will not be bullied or cajoled by anyone."
But Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, hit back and said it is "frustrating" to ask passengers to alter their travel plans.
Mr Haines said: "Despite our best efforts to find a breakthrough, I’m afraid there will be more disruption for passengers this week as the RMT seems hell-bent on continuing their political campaigning, rather than compromising and agreeing a deal for their members."
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Steve Montgomery, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train firms, said: "While we will do all that we can to minimise disruption to passengers, our advice is to only travel if it is necessary."
Mr Montgomery added: "We have a responsibility to bring our railway up to date and give our passengers a more punctual and reliable service so that we’re able to give our staff the pay rise they deserve.
"But it is wrong to continue asking taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden when they have already contributed £600 per household during the pandemic, or to expect passengers to fund it by paying more for their tickets, when they too are feeling the pinch."
Around 40,000 railway workers are expected to walk out at Network Rail - which runs the track, signals and some stations - and 14 companies. These are:
- Avanti West Coast
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands Railway
- Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink
- Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express)
- Great Western Railway
- South Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
- West Midlands Trains (including London Northwestern)
All other rail operators are likely to be impacted by the Network Rail strike action.
Disruption is likely to continue into Thursday, July 28, some rail operators have said.
The strikes coincide with the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 semi-final, when France play Germany at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.
Thursday will feature the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham.