Rail workers will go on strike on May 13, the day of the Eurovision Song Contest final, taking place in Liverpool. The planned protest, reported by the British tabloid The Mirror, will have an impact across 14 train operators. The RMT rail union announced the strike after rejecting the latest offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to resolve the long-running pay dispute.
The action will strategically destabilize travellers heading to the snazzy Eurovision ceremony which is being hosted by the UK on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine. It comes as train drivers from the Aslef union also confirmed three new strike dates in May and June — coinciding with the FA Cup final and the Epsom Derby. Aslef union said strike action would take place on May 12 and 31, and on June 3, when Manchester United and Manchester City are due to play at Wembley.
The RMT’s ruling body dismissed RDG’s offer, which it said included a first-year payment of 5% but only if the union ended its strike mandate.
“The RDG have reneged on their original proposals and torpedoed these negotiations. No doubt their decision is due to pressure exerted on them by the Tory government,” said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.
Lynch said there was “no alternative but to press ahead” by organising more strike actions and continuing the union’s campaign for a negotiated settlement on pay, conditions and job security. The RMT head will re-ballot its members and name more strike dates if it gets a renewed mandate for walkouts.
Steve Montgomery, Chair of the RDG criticized RMT’s upcoming organized protest saying the railway group was “blindsided by the RMT executive’s announcement“ adding that nothing had changed in the offer agreed two weeks ago by the RMT leadership in the negotiating room.
“The RMT are negotiating in bad faith, again denying their members a say on a fair pay deal, needlessly disrupting the lives of millions of our passengers, and undermining the viability of an industry critical to Britain’s economy,” said Montgomery.
The rail operators affected by the strike include:
- Chiltern Railways
- Cross Country Trains
- Greater Anglia
- East Midlands Railway
- Great Western
- Northern Trains
- South Eastern
- South Western Railway
- Transpennine Express
- Avanti West Coast
- West Midlands Trains
- GTR (including Gatwick Express)