Tube and London Overground workers set for 24-hour walk-out in row over pay, jobs and conditions

Britain’s rail network will be brought to a halt by another 24-hour strike in the capital during the summer holidays – as workers on the London Underground and the Overground network walk out this month.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out on August 19, in between strikes on August 18 and 20 on Network Rail and 14 train operators in the long-running row over pay, jobs and conditions.

Tube workers have been locked in a dispute over pensions and jobs for more than six months while Overground workers employed by Arriva Rail London will strike over pay.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said there will be ‘significant disruption’ on August 19 – making it the summer of unrest.

The union gave Transport for London until Tuesday to give assurances that there would be no job losses, no detrimental changes to pensions and no changes or imposition of working conditions.

RMT members on Arriva Rail London have rejected a 5 per cent pay offer.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out on August 19, in between strikes on August 18 and 20 on Network Rail and 14 train operators in the long-running row over pay, jobs and conditions. Pictured: Kings Cross station

Tube workers have been locked in a dispute over pensions and jobs for more than six months while Overground workers employed by Arriva Rail London will strike over pay (Pictured: A strike notice at Euston station in London on 27 July)

Tube workers have been locked in a dispute over pensions and jobs for more than six months while Overground workers employed by Arriva Rail London will strike over pay (Pictured: A strike notice at Euston station in London on 27 July)

Pictured: Former opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn joins a picket line at Kings Cross station in London

Pictured: Former opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn joins a picket line at Kings Cross station in London

Mr Lynch said: ‘This strike action by our members on LU and the Overground is yet another demonstration of how transport workers refuse to accept a raw deal.

‘TfL have had ample opportunity to be transparent about the funding they will receive and to give tube workers the assurances they need.

‘Yet they have totally failed to give those guarantees.

‘And Arriva Rail London, a company swimming in money, refuses to give our members a pay rise that will deal with the escalating cost of living crisis.

‘There will be significant disruption on August 19 but TfL and Arriva Rail London bear responsibility for this break down in industrial relations.’

Meanwhile, with the latest train strike dates announced for the middle of the British summertime, thousands of people’s holiday plans are expected to be impacted. The new dates also coincide with the inaugural ‘Camp Bestival Shropshire’, potentially leaving thousands of revelers to find alternative travel arrangements to the event.

Passengers wait for the entrance gates to open at Southfields underground station in south London, the day after members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT)

Passengers wait for the entrance gates to open at Southfields underground station in south London, the day after members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT)

Camp Bestival Shropshire – the first iteration of the family festival ‘Bestival’ that is held annually in Dorest – will run from August 18 to August 21, meaning the August 18 strike date will impact travel on the event’s first day.

Network Rail hit out at the union, saying that the announcement of more strikes ‘dropped any pretence that this is about reaching a deal’. ‘It’s clear the best interests of passengers and our staff are taking second place to the union’s bosses’ political campaign,’ Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said last month.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group – the British rail industry membership body – added: ‘This is a hugely disappointing announcement from the RMT’s leadership which will upset passengers’ summer plans, undermine struggling businesses and upend the industry’s recovery.’

RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch said proposals from Network Rail had ‘fallen well short on pay and safety’, and called on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to ‘sort this mess out’.

A Department for Transport spokesperson hit back, saying: ‘As the Secretary of State said only yesterday, recent talks have merely been for show while the RMT have been planning how best to create further misery for passengers across the UK. These strikes will be a kick in the teeth for millions of people who stumped up £600 per household to keep the railway running throughout the pandemic.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on the picket line outside Kings Cross train station as union members take part in a fresh strike over jobs, pay and conditions

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on the picket line outside Kings Cross train station as union members take part in a fresh strike over jobs, pay and conditions

‘The rail industry has to modernise and be brought into the 21st century for the benefit of passengers and staff alike. There’s no getting around that and we’re extremely disappointed to see more strikes announced.’

The companies involved in the RMT strikes are: Network Rail, Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains and GTR (including Gatwick Express).

Following RMT’s announcement, general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘The rail industry and the Government need to understand that this dispute will not simply vanish.

‘They need to get serious about providing an offer on pay which helps deal with the cost-of-living crisis, job security for our members and provides good conditions at work.

‘Recent proposals from Network Rail fell well short on pay and on safety around maintenance work. And the train operating companies have not even made us a pay offer in recent negotiations.

Aslef union members for eight rail companies join a picket line outside Paddington on July 30 (pictured)

Aslef union members for eight rail companies join a picket line outside Paddington on July 30 (pictured)

‘Now Grant Shapps has abandoned his forlorn hopes for the job of prime minister, he can now get back to his day job and help sort this mess out.

‘We remain open for talks, but we will continue our campaign until we reach a negotiated settlement.’

But RMT was criticised by Britain’s Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which called on the union’s leaders to return to talks.

‘We want to give our people an increase in pay, but asking taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden when they have already contributed £600 per household during the pandemic, or expecting passengers to fund it by paying more for their tickets, isn’t fair or sustainable,’ the RDG said in a statement.

‘Instead, we have a responsibility to make changes to long-outdated working practices so we can adapt to post-Covid travel patterns, bring our railway up to date and give our passengers a more punctual and reliable service.

‘Rather than staging counterproductive strikes, we ask the RMT’s leadership to continue talking so we can come to a deal that works for our people, our passengers and for taxpayers.’

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan (pictured) previously said the strike action was 'solid'

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan (pictured) previously said the strike action was ‘solid’

It comes as rail services were severely disrupted again last weekend in the latest outbreak of industrial unrest.

Members of the drivers union Aslef at seven train operators walked out for 24 hours over pay today.

General secretary Mick Whelan said the strike action was ‘solid’, adding: ‘The strike today was solid. That shows the solidarity of our members and their determination not to be pushed around by Grant Shapps, the Department for Transport, and the train companies.

‘After keeping Britain moving during the pandemic, they expect our members, who have not had an increase in pay since 2019, to keep working, effectively for a pay cut.

‘All we are asking for is an increase in line with the increase in the cost of living – soaring inflation is not the fault of working people in this country, it’s the fault of this government and its inept handling of the UK economy.

The Rail Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) has organised 24-hour strikes for 27 and 30 July over pay

The Rail Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) has organised 24-hour strikes for 27 and 30 July over pay

‘Shapps holds the key to this but, true to form, he is blustering and ducking and diving, and looking to blame everyone else, indeed, anyone else, for the problems he has created.

‘He could solve this in an instant by allowing the train companies to come to the table with a sensible offer and negotiate with us.”

But the UK government says the average Aslef member earns almost £60,000 – double that of many NHS nurses and care workers.

Hitachi rail workers responsible for maintenance and repair for train companies and the railway network also announced today they would strike for three days from Sunday in a row over pay and conditions.

Mr Lynch said: ‘Our members know the value of their work and will not be short changed by Hitachi Rail.

‘I congratulate our members on this strong industrial response and RMT will support further stoppages until they receive a just settlement.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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