Network Rail has warned passengers that limited to no services will run on 27 July, the first of an additional three-day strike called by the union RMT last week.
The government-owned operator said that – while “specially-trained back-up staff” will keep vital services running on the day – timetables will be cut down to 20 per cent of trains, with services going down to zero in certain parts of the country.
Trains will run between 7.30am to 6.30pm and a special timetable will be published on Saturday.
“Despite our best efforts to find a breakthrough I’m afraid there will be more disruption for passengers next week as the RMT seems hell-bent on continuing their political campaigning, rather than compromising and agreeing a deal for their members,” said Network Rail’s chief executive Andrew Haines.
The strike will impact thousands of Brits flocking to see the Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final in Milton Keynes as well as the Commonwealth Games’ opening ceremony in Birmingham the next day.
The union rebutted the comments, accusing the Department for Transport (DfT) of meddling into the negotiations.
“We have negotiated successfully with Network Rail for more than a decade,” said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.
“Yet after two years of interference from the DfT, we are involved in our first ever national rail dispute.”
The government, however, denied any involvement in negotiations.
“We are not directly at the table in the negotiations between the rail companies and the unions,” a DfT spokesperson said. “But ministers remain very close to the ongoing situation regarding discussions and negotiations.”
Around 40,000 union members working at Network Rail and 14 other operators announced last week they would walk out for another three days in a dispute over salaries and job cuts.
Avanti West Coast’s platform and ticketing staff will join on that same day, while train drivers at eight operators will walk out on 30 July.
RMT workers will go on strike also on 18 and 20 August.
The strike comes on the heels of RMT members bringing the country to a standstill with a three-day walk out in June, kicking off what many are calling the UK’s “summer of discontent.”
“We ask the RMT and Aslef’s leadership to continue talking so we can come to a deal that works for our people, our passengers and for taxpayers,” said Rail Delivery Group’s chair Steve Montgomery.