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UK rail strikes to go ahead after talks fail: Union

LONDON (AFP) – Britain’s biggest strike action on the railway network in over 30 years will go ahead, after talks over pay broke down, the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) Workers union said yesterday.

RMT general-secretary Mick Lynch said there had been discussions in recent weeks with rail infrastructure body Network Rail, train companies and London Underground.

But he added that “no viable settlements” were found.

The failure of talks means more than 50,000 workers will take part in a three-day national strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday next week.

London Underground workers will also stage a 24-hour walk-out on Tuesday. The action coincides with major events including the Glastonbury music festival, as well as national exams for teenagers.

Major disruption is predicted but the RMT defended the industrial action and blamed the Conservative government for cutting billions of pounds in funding from the transport network.

Jobs had been lost across the sector, while wages for staff that remain were failing to keep pace with soaring inflation, which is at a 40-year high, it argued.

“In the face of this massive attack on our people the RMT cannot be passive,” said Lynch.

”So… we are confirming that the strike action scheduled to take place on June 21, 23 and 25 will go ahead.”

The Rail Delivery Group, an industry body for passenger and freight operators, predicted that “millions of people” would be affected.