Britain’s biggest rail union the RMT announced Friday a 24-hour national strike that will affect millions of commuters around the country.
The union says the stoppage will start at 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) on May 25, a public holiday in Britain, and will end at 5 p.m. the following day. Coinciding with the proposed strike will be a 48-hour ban on RMT members working overtime.
The action, the first national rail strike for 20 years, has been called in a dispute over pay after union negotiators rejected a pay deal put forward by Network Rail who run Britain’s massive rail infrastructure.
Government Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has condemned the proposed action.
He said in a statement: “I condemn any industrial action that disrupts the travelling public. I want to see Network Rail and the unions back round the negotiating table, hammering out a deal. Rail passengers will not thank the unions for inflicting this unnecessary disruption.”
The strike decision will put pressure on RMT and Network Rail to hold conciliation talks next week in the hope of averting the industrial action.
The strike would ruin holiday weekend plans for many families, but would have a bigger impact on May 26 for the millions who would normally travel top their jobs by train.
RMT said Friday that 60 percent of its members voted in a ballot with 80 percent in favour of strike action.
“We have rejected the latest Network Rail pay proposals as falling well short of what is required to maintain the living standards, the job security and the working conditions for nearly 16,000 staff,” RMT said.
The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: “The failure of Network Rail to make any moves whatsoever in light of the overwhelming vote in the ballot has left us with no option but to move to a rolling program of industrial action.” Enditem