More rail strike dates announced for August and September after months of no talks

Millions of rail passengers face train cancellations across England as the RMT announced two more days of strikes, stretching into September.

The main rail union blames a lack of progress in negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the organisation representing train operators .

The walk-outs at 14 train operators – including all the leading intercity and commuter services in England – will take place on the two key Saturdays at the end of the summer holidays, 26 August and 2 September.

The main impact will be on leisure travellers. The strikes will particularly affect families returning from holidays, as well as music fans attending the Reading Festival on 26 August, rugby supporters attending the England-Fiji match at Twickenham on the same day, and football fans across both weekends.

Transport for Wales and ScotRail are unaffected.

Announcing the strike, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The mood among our members remains solid and determined in our national dispute over pay job security and working conditions.

“We have had to call further strike action as we have received no improved or revised offer from the Rail Delivery Group.

“The reason for this is the government has not allowed them a fresh mandate on which discussions could be held.

“Our members and our union will continue fighting until we can reach a negotiated and just settlement.”

The forthcoming industrial action is part of a long and bitter dispute over pay and working arrangements that began 14 months ago.

The train drivers’ union, Aslef, is involved in a similar dispute. Drivers are currently taking part in an overtime ban, which continues until midnight on Saturday 12 August.

A spokesperson for the RDG said: “With further strike action the RMT are once again targeting customers looking to enjoy various sporting events, festivals, and the end of the summer holidays, disrupting their plans and forcing more cars onto the road.”

“We have now made three offers, the latest of which would have given staff pay rises of up to 13 per cent as well as job security guarantees and the RMT executive have blocked this without a convincing explanation.

“We remain open to talks and we have said repeatedly that we want to give our people a pay rise, but until the union leadership and executive is united in what it wants and engages in good faith with the 30 per cent shortfall in revenue the industry is continuing to grapple with post Covid, it is difficult to move forward.

“Unfortunately, the repercussion of this impasse affects our staff, customers, and the communities across the country that rely on the railway.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The RMT leadership’s decision to call more strikes and cynically target the travelling public over the Bank Holiday weekend is disappointing.

“The government has facilitated fair and reasonable pay offers. However, union bosses are opting to prolong this dispute by blocking their members from having a vote on these offers – we continue to urge that members are given their say, and disruption is brought to an end.”

The first national rail walk-outs since the 1980s began on 21 June 2022. The latest action to be announced will take to 35 the number of RMT strike days since then. No talks have taken place since April 2023.

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