New June train strike date announced to add to passengers’ misery
The UK’s biggest rail union, the RMT, has called another national strike on Friday 2 June – and demanded that the government “unlocks” the employers to reach a settlement in a long and bitter dispiute over pay and working arrangements.
The 24-hour walk-out by up to 20,000 staff will take place between the next two strikes by train drivers belonging to the Aslef union, on Wednesday 31 May and Saturday 3 June.
It is likely to see at least half of scheduled trains cancelled, with some routes unserved. Services that do run are likely to begin earlier and finish later.
The industrial action will blight family travel during half-term at most schools in England, which runs from 27 May to 4 June.
RMT members voted by 91 per cent to extend their strike mandate until November.
The walk-out involves staff working for the 14 train companies contracted by the Department for Transport to run services.
The train operators are represented in negotiations by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
They include the main long-distance operators – Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western and LNER – as well as key commuter services around London and other big English cities.
Transport for Wales, ScotRail and “open-access” operators – Grand Central, Hull Trains and Lumo – are unaffected.
The RMT says since its last strike on 13 May, no new proposals have been formulated.
The union’s general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “The government is once again not allowing the Rail Delivery Group to make an improved offer that we can consider.
“Therefore, we have to pursue our industrial campaign to win a negotiated settlement on jobs, pay and conditions.
“Ministers cannot just wish this dispute away. They underestimate the strength of feeling our members who have just given us a new six-month strike mandate, continue to support the campaign and the action and are determined to see this through until we get an acceptable resolution.
“The government now needs to unlock the RDG and allow them to make an offer that can be put to a referendum of our members.”
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “In recent discussions with the RMT we have continued to stand by the fair, industry level dispute resolution proposal agreed line by line with their negotiating team, which would have resolved this dispute and given our lowest paid staff a rise of up to 13 per cent.
“By calling more strike action the RMT leadership have chosen to prolong this dispute without ever giving their members a chance to have a say on their own offer.
“Instead, they will be subject to yet more lost pay through industrial action, customers will suffer more disruption, and the industry will continue to suffer huge damage at a time when the railway is taking more than its fair share from taxpayers to keep trains running post-Covid.
“We remain open and willing to engage in national level-talks so that we can secure a pay rise for our people and the long-term future of an industry vital to Britain’s economy.”
The next strike will be the 26th day that has seen a walk-out by RMT members since the first national rail strikes began in June 2022.