Series of rail strikes planned to start on Saturday suspended, RMT union says

Mick Lynch, Secretary-General of the RMT

A series of planned strikes by railway workers have been suspended, the RMT union announced.

Members were due to walk out for 24 hours on Saturday 5, Monday 7 and Wednesday 9 November.

But despite Saturday’s walkout being cancelled, Network Rail said “the very late notice means that services for tomorrow cannot be reinstated and will remain extremely limited”.

Chief negotiator Tim Shoveller said there will also be “limited ability to change the ‘strike timetable’ for Monday.

“Our advice remains to please check before you travel and on Saturday and Monday and only travel by rail if absolutely necessary,” he said.

The strikes were called over jobs, pay and conditions and first started in June.

RMT officials said that instead of striking, the union will now “enter into a period of intensive negotiations with Network Rail”, with the promise of a pay deal from train operators.

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Disruption ‘inevitable’ in strikes says RMT boss Mick Lynch

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The threat of strike action and our strongly supported industrial campaign has made the rail employers see sense.

“We have always wanted to secure a negotiated settlement and that is what we will continue to push for in this next phase of intensive talks.

“Our priority is our members, and we are working towards securing a deal on job security, a decent pay rise and good working conditions.”

Re-ballot to take place by 15 November

He added that RMT plans remain “very much live” and a re-ballot for further strikes will conclude on 15 November.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said it is “positive” the union backed down on industrial action, but it is regretful services are unlikely to be reinstated at such short notice.

“We remain committed to intensive negotiations to agree the reforms needed to improve reliability, deliver a pay rise for our people and get the industry back on a sustainable financial footing,” they said.

Regular strike action has crippled the rail network for several months, with many Britons left unable to fulfil work or personal commitments.

Several other industries, including NHS workers, are voting on strike action amid calls for inflation-busting pay increases amid the cost-of-living crisis.

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