Talks are continuing between the RMT, Network Rail and the train operators, but tomorrow’s third national walkout is set to go ahead, once again reducing train services to about a fifth and also closing many routes for the day.
There have already been two national 24-hour strikes this week, and RMT general secretary Mick Lynch is refusing to rule out more walkouts in the continuing dispute over pay and job security.
Network Rail has said the changes being proposed to the maintenance workforce are the result of new technology which improves track monitoring, and although some jobs are expected to go Network Rail intends to achieve many of the reductions by voluntary redundancy settlements or natural wastage, while those who wish to stay will be offered retraining and other roles within Network Rail.
The dispute has been made worse by persistent reports that the government wants to abolish ticket offices nationwide, although there has been no official confirmation of this.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Our members are leading the way in standing up for all working people trying to get a pay rise and some job security.
‘In a modern economy workers need to be properly rewarded for their work, enjoy good conditions and have the peace of mind that their job will not be taken away from them.
‘Grant Shapps needs to get in the room or get out of the way so we can negotiate with these companies who we have successfully struck dozens of deals with previously.
‘What we cannot accept is thousands of railway workers being thrown on the scrapheap after being praised as heroes during Covid.
‘RMT will continue its industrial campaign until a negotiated settlement is reached.’