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Bank holiday train strike: Union leaders face off with Network Rail

PUBLISHED: 11:12 18 May 2015 | UPDATED: 11:01 19 May 2015

One of many times London Bridge has experienced rush hour chaos (Teilo Colley /PA Wire)

One of many times London Bridge has experienced rush hour chaos (Teilo Colley /PA Wire)

Archant

Network Rail is in talks today to avert a planned 24-hour walkout from 5pm on bank holiday Monday May 25, by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT).

If the talks are unsuccessful and the strike goes ahead, it will be the first national rail strike since 1994, and will affect football fans leaving Wembley after the Championship play-off final, which kicks off at 3pm on bank holiday Monday.

However, the biggest impact will be on the Tuesday, with one official saying “services will be at a standstill”.

The decision to strike comes after Network Rail’s latest pay proposals were seen to fall “well short” of what is required to maintain the living standards and job security of staff. Union members rejected a four-year deal worth £500 this year and three years of increases matching RPI inflation.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “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.”

RMT members voted for the strike 4-1, well above the threshold for industrial action that the new Government is bringing in.

Mr Cash said the pay offer was “wholly inadequate” and failed to recognise “the massive pressures staff are working under to keep services running safely at a time when the company is generating profits of £1 billion.”

RMT are launching a new campaign called “Our Jobs - Your Safety” to explain their grievances to the public.

Mr Cash went on: “Our rail staff deserve a fair reward for the high-pressure, safety-critical work that they undertake day and night and the last thing that we need is a demoralised, burnt-out workforce living in fear for their futures and the message has come back loud and clear that that is exactly how they feel about the current offer from Network Rail.”

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