The National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT) have announced that they will be striking on May 12, 13, and June 3 due to the government’s refusal over a pay rise.
The strike involves 13,000 rail workers and 14 different rail companies.
The RMT is also considering 31 May as a day of strike, but mainly highlighting May 12, 13 and June 3 as main events.
The dates are important for the public due to events and high demand for transportation: the Eurovision Final in Liverpool on May 13 and the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Manchester City in Wembley on June 3. People who are planning to attend either event are expected to start travelling the day before. Due to the strike, attendees might feel discouraged to travel by train.
Upon hearing RMT’s announcement, the UKgovernment expressed how some rail workers were already earning £60,000, and the Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper saw the strike taking place on the day of the Eurovision Final as “cynically targeting.”
Usually, the country that wins Eurovision would host the competition in the following year. Ukraine, winner of last year’s Eurovision, is unable to host due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Instead, the UK will hold the 2023 Eurovision.
Harper tweeted his reaction to RMT’s decision on Twitter, focusing on the FA Cup Final, Eurovision and the impact on the public and Ukrainians.
“It is deeply disappointing that Aslef has decided to call strikes and ban overtime, targeting thousands of people attending the UK’s first Eurovision event in 25 years - including Ukrainians displaced by Putin’s war - and the first ever all - Manchester FA Cup final,” Harper stated.
“The fair and reasonable offer from the RDG included urgent reform to ensure our railways are financially sustainable for the benefit of passengers, rail workers and the taxpayer as well as delivering a pay rise - for members whose salary already averages £60,000 a year.”
Harper also added that Aslef would need to give their members a voice in the offer and to call off the strikes.
The government anticipates the RMT changes their plans to strike, however the RMT hopes their calls for fair pay are met.
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