Britain is set to face its biggest rail strike in 30 years after collective bargaining collapsed. The transport union RMT announced on Saturday that its week-long talks with the infrastructure company Network Rail, the rail companies and the London Underground had ended without a “sustainable solution”.
RMT General Secretary Mike Lynch announced nationwide strikes for next Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. More than 50,000 strikers are expected. On Tuesday, the employees of the London Underground also want to stop work for 24 hours.
The strikes will be the most widespread since 1989, according to the union. The RMT accuses Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government of cutting billions in funding for the transport network. Many jobs have been cut in the industry and wages cannot keep up with runaway inflation. In view of this development, “the RMT cannot remain passive,” said Lynch.
The British Department for Transport called the RMT’s decision “very disappointing and premature”. The sector is still suffering from the consequences of the corona pandemic. A ministry spokesman appealed to the union to “reconsider its decision”. A solution must be found that benefits workers, passengers and taxpayers alike.”
According to the Rail Delivery Group, the association of rail companies, “millions of people” will be affected by the strikes. The association pledged to maintain “as many services as possible”. At the same time he called “significant disruptions inevitable”.