Travel chaos: Panellist slams RMT Union over strike action
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Britain is due to see the biggest rail strike in 30 years this week, as more than 50,000 workers from Network Rail and 13 train operators will stage a walkout on June 21, 23, and 25, after talks over pay and redundancies fell through. Despite the strike only taking place on three days, many commuters are expected to “give up on trains for the whole week”, which could see an influx of cars on the road instead.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) is fighting for workers to receive a pay rise in line with inflation, to prevent workers from effectively getting a pay cut as inflation soars.
Inflation rates rocketed to nine percent in April – its highest in 40 years, and this is only predicted to rise further.
The RMT said this means workers should receive a pay rise of at least 11.1 percent.
The RMT also said Government transportation cuts will see Network Rail axe 2,500 rail maintenance jobs in a bid to make £2 million in savings over the next two years.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge: “We have to fight this because we haven’t had any pay rises, we are faced with thousands of job cuts and they want to rip up our terms and conditions in a form of hire and re-hire that is internal to the railway.
“If there is not a settlement we will continue our campaign. I think there are going to be many more unions balloting across the country because people can’t take it anymore.”
The action could leave only a fifth of mainline rail services running on strike days, with the majority operating for a maximum of 12 hours; causing widespread disruption to passenger and freight services across England, Scotland, and Wales.
Commuters will likely take to the roads to travel instead and with more cars on the road, traffic will “inevitably” be impacted.
What roads are likely to be affected?
The AA predicted the roads likely to be worst affected would be main motorway arteries, as well as rural and suburban areas.
Motorists in Scotland and Wales are expected to face long queues as most railway lines there will be closed during the industrial action on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The M74, M8 and A9 in Scotland and the M4, A55, A5, and A483 in Wales could see especially severe traffic.
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RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said the impact of the strikes on the roads was “inevitable”.
He added: “Major city routes as well as those serving the home counties are likely to see some of the biggest increases in traffic volumes as, even if rail lines are still open, there will be significantly fewer trains running.”
“With strikes like these planned it’s perhaps little wonder that so many drivers across the country are dependent on their vehicles.
“Traffic jams aside, using a car often turns out to be the most practical and reliable way of getting around.”
However, despite the strikes only happening on three days, an AA route planner spokesman said: “Many travellers will give up on the trains for the whole week.”
Train services on the days between the strikes are also likely to be affected – adding further uncertainty for commuters.
The spokesperson added: “It coincides with big events like Glastonbury and the Goodwood Festival of Speed, so drivers not going to those locations are advised to give the areas a wide berth.”
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