UK rail union leaders and Network Rail delegates are locked in talks over a national rail strike scheduled for bank holiday Monday. The discussions chaired by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) began yesterday and are continuing today.
So far, none of the delegates have released details of progress on the talks and only stated they had adjourned to reflect last night. Leaders of the TSSA and RMT unions have called the strike in a clash over pay and redundancies.
The strike by maintenance, signalling and station staff is scheduled to begin at 17:00 on 25 May and end at 16:59 the following day. The workers will also only work their scheduled hours for the 48-hour period covering the 25 and 26 May.
In ballots, the rail workers said no to a four-year deal which would have seen them net £500 apiece this year plus rises for the next three years to match the rate of inflation. Network Rail had also stated there would be no compulsory redundancies before December of next year.
Network Rail says it will do everything it can to avert the strike, but CEO Mark Carne has labelled it deplorable. He said it was timed to ruin the holidays of families trying to make the most of school half-term breaks.
Network Rail operates a large proportion of the UK’s railway infrastructure and this includes 10 of London’s mainline stations. If the Acas sponsored talks fail, the strike will be the first to cover the whole of the national railway network for 20 years.