If you were planning on going away during the forthcoming bank holiday weekend, you'd better make sure there's petrol in the car tank or you have a book to read on the MegaBus. Network Rail workers have announced plans to stage a 24 hour walkout on Bank Holiday Monday, causing major disruption to those travelling around the country.
The result of a pay dispute (isn't it always?), members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (commonly known as the RMT) will begin the strike on May 25th at 5pm. The union members will also step away from overtime for 48 hours, which could lead to frustrating delays in repair and upgrade works on the network.
Described by the RMT as being possibly "the most disruptive rail strike in living memory", it's the first time in 20 years that staff, including signallers and maintenance teams, have taken strike action on a national scale.
"Our members have decisively rejected the pay package offered by Network Rail, said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.
"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."
Union members had been offered a four-year deal which this year would have been worth £500, leading to three years of pay bumps in line with RPI inflation. The union also rejected an offer that would have seen no compulsory redundancy through to December 2016. The RMT described the offer as "well short" of what is required to maintain living standards, with the union looking to defend 16,000 jobs. [Evening Standard]