Britain is set to face yet another rail strike later this month which could throw a spanner in the works for passengers hoping to attend some major sporting events.
Rail workers announced a strike set to begin on July 27 and July 30 over pay and working conditions, which comes hot on the heels of the biggest rail strike the UK has seen in decades last month.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said Network Rail, the owner of most of the rail network in the UK, made an offer of a 4% increase in pay as Britain sees inflation potentially rise above 10%.
“The offer from Network Rail represents a real terms pay cut for our members and the paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives,” general secretary Mick Lynch said in a statement.
“Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes.”
ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, announced a day of strike action on July 30 after train companies failed to make a pay offer to keep pace with the increase in the cost of living.
Mick Whelan, the general secretary of the ASLEF, said the strike is “the only option available” as they await a “fair and sensible offer” from the government.
“We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – not least because our friends and families use public transport, too, and we believe in building trust in the railways in Britain – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike,” Whelan said in a statement.
“But we’ve been forced into this position by the train companies, driven by the Tory government.”
Eager sports fans attending the Commonwealth Games and the opening weekend of the English Football League are being left to fend for themselves during the 24-hour train standstill.
The Commonwealth Games begin in Birmingham on July 28, while Manchester City faces Liverpool at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on July 30. Both events could see far fewer spectators than expected.
The following day, London’s Wembley Stadium is hosting the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 final, which could disrupt services running on July 31.
“It’s hugely disappointing that unions have decided to strike during a fantastic Summer of sport which has been in the planning for years,” sports minister Nigel Huddleston tweeted.
“This could hugely impact the spectator experience for those planning to travel by train. The strike action comes at a critical stage of the Women’s Euros and the start of the Commonwealth Games.”
With Post wires
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