The RMT union, representing tens of thousands of rail workers, will walk out on fresh strike dates after having reached no new deal with employers in the national rail dispute. New walkout dates have also been announced by nurses, while Royal Mail postal workers have voted in favour of additional strikes.
RMT announced to its members on Thursday (February 15) their next move in the ongoing dispute, introducing more walkout dates as well as a ban on overtime. The union, representing 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operators, said it had rejected offers from employers last week as they did not meet the RMT’s demands on pay, job security and working conditions.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Rail employers are not being given a fresh mandate by the government to offer our members a new deal on pay, conditions and job security. Therefore, our members will now take sustained and targeted industrial action over the next few months.
"The government can settle this dispute easily by unshackling the rail companies. However, its stubborn refusal to do so will now mean more strike action across the railway network and a very disruptive overtime ban.
"Ministers cannot continue to sit on their hands hoping this dispute will go away as our members are fully prepared to fight tooth and nail for a negotiated settlement in the months ahead."
Beginning later this month, RMT will stage four 24-hour walkouts on Thursday, March 16, Saturday, March 18, Thursday, March 30 and Saturday, April 1. The strikes will include RMT members working for 14 train operators.
Nurses in England have announced their biggest strike so far in a deteriorating dispute over pay. Tens of thousands of NHS nurses, including A&E workers, will walk out for 48 hours continuously starting 6am on Wednesday, March 1 until Friday, March 3.
The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) has said the strikes will now include all services. This means action will include emergency workers, intensive care units, cancer care and other departments, not previously involved in the industrial action.
RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have today asked even more nursing staff to join this dispute. These strikes will not just run for longer and involve more people but will leave no area of the NHS unaffected. Patients and nurses alike did not want this to happen.
“By refusing to negotiate with nurses, the Prime Minister is pushing even more people into the strike. He must listen to NHS leaders and not let this go ahead.
“I will do whatever I can to ensure patient safety is protected. At first, we asked thousands to keep working during the strikes but it’s clear that is only prolonging the dispute. This action must not be in vain – the Prime Minister owes them an answer.”
Royal Mail strike renewal
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) representing more than 114,000 Royal Mail workers have voted in favour of a fresh strike mandate. According to the union, 95.7% of its members voted in favour of a renewed mandate, with a turnout of 77% - but no new strike dates have yet been announced.