Rail strikes which will sever links across Scotland are to go ahead after talks failed to resolve a bitter row over pay, jobs and conditions.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said it had held discussions in the past few weeks at senior levels with Network Rail, train operators and London Underground, where industrial action on the tube network is also threatened.
Union leaders have now confirmed the strikes will go ahead, halting services everywhere except between Glasgow and Edinburgh – with those trains also severely curtailed.
The strikes are scheduled to go ahead on three days next week – Tuesday 21st, Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “Despite the best efforts of our negotiators no viable settlements to the disputes have been created.”
The action by tens of thousands of rail workers will cripple services for most of the week.
Mr Lynch said: “It has to be restated that the source of these disputes is the decision by the Tory Government to cut £4bn of funding from our transport systems – £2bn from national rail and £2bn from Transport for London.
“As a result of this transport austerity imposed by the Government, the employing companies have taken decisions to salvage the Railway Pension Scheme and the Transport for London scheme, cutting benefits, making staff work longer, and poorer in retirement, while paying increased contributions.”
Mr Lynch said thousands of jobs were being cut across the rail networks and workers were facing below-inflation pay rises.
“In the face of this massive attack on our people, the RMT cannot be passive.
“So today, having heard the reports on the discussions that have been taking place we are confirming that the strike action scheduled to take place on 21st, 23rd and 25th June will go ahead.
“We want a transport system that operates for the benefit of the people, for the needs of society and our environment – not for private profit.
“We call on the entire labour movement and the working people to rally to the support of the RMT and our members in this struggle.”
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “No one wins in the event of a strike.
“The action next week will affect the millions of people who use the train each day, including key workers, students with exams, those who cannot work from home, holidaymakers and people attending important business and leisure events.
“Working with Network Rail, our plan is to keep as many services running as possible, but significant disruption will be inevitable and some parts of the network will not have a service, so passengers should plan their journeys carefully and check their train times.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Strikes should always be the last resort, not the first, so it is hugely disappointing and premature that the RMT is going ahead with industrial action.
“The Government committed £16 billion – to keep our railways running throughout the pandemic while ensuring not a single worker lost their job.
“The railway is still on life support, with passenger numbers 25% down and anything that drives away even more of them risks killing services and jobs.
“Train travel for millions more people is now a choice, not a necessity. Strikes stop our customers from choosing rail, and they might never return.
“We urge the RMT to reconsider so we can find a solution that delivers for workers, passengers and taxpayers alike.”
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