Rail unions warn they have a mandate for six months of strikes in battle of attrition

PMQs: PM slams Starmer’s ‘silence’ on RMT strikes

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It comes as last minute talks to avert the walkouts failed and they seem certain to go ahead on Tuesday June 21, 23 and 25. An RMT source revealed that the union’s NEC would meet to decide what to do next but that they would only give rail bosses two weeks’ notice of industrial action.

They told The Telegraph: “We have a mandate for strike action for six months. The National Executive Committee will decide what to do next.

“They will only meet after this week and then need to give the employers two weeks’ notice.”

The RMT are able to call strikes with only two weeks notice until the end of November, six months after a majority of members voted to walkout in May.

However, further industrial action beyond November would need a new ballot.

Fresh talks will take place on Monday but the RMT and rail bosses appear poles apart.

According to The Telegraph, Network Rail has offered a two percent pay rise but vowed to go ahead with job cuts.

However, RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch revealed that he was asking for a seven percent pay rise.

Mr Lynch told the i that passengers should expect a “long fight”. 

He said: “That may have to be the way that is, I hope that’s not the case, but there doesn’t seem to be much evidence at the moment that it’s going to go any other way.”

A Network Rail source told the broadsheet that they were preparing for a “battle of attrition” and were prepared to bribe signallers to cross the picket line.

They said: “It is very unlikely these strikes will be a one-off. The RMT will meet after the strikes and decide what comes next and we assume there will be more disruption and more strike days.

“Then that moves the dispute into a battle of attrition. 

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“We are looking at paying RMT signallers extra money to break the strike.

“Nothing has been decided but there have been discussions about doing that.

“The risk of breakaway signallers being branded scabs and being targeted is very alive today.

“Offering bonuses to work is not something we are going to walk into lightly but certainly something we are looking at.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has blasted the strikes, telling Sky News that the action was “jeopardising” the future of the railway.

He said: “Of course, it is a reality that if we can’t get these railways modernised, if we can’t get the kind of efficiency that will mean that they can work on behalf of the travelling public, then of course it is jeopardising the future of the railway itself.”

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