RMT confirm Thursday's rail strike will go ahead after accusing Grant Shapps of 'wrecking' negotiations

Thursday's action is one of three days of strikes expected to take place this week

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The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) said Thursday’s rail strike will go ahead after accusing Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of “wrecking” negotiations.

Around 40,000 members of the RMT union at Network Rail and 13 train operators are involved in the industrial action.

After walking out on Tuesday, causing chaos across the country, talks resumed today in a bid to resolve the bitter dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch
RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch

But with negotiations seemingly ending without a deal in place, the RMT have now confirmed that Thursday's strike action will take place.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch RMT said: "Grant Shapps has wrecked these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for 2,900 of our members.

"Until the Government unshackle Network Rail and the train operating companies, it is not going to be possible for a negotiated settlement to be agreed.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

"We will continue with our industrial campaign until we get a negotiated settlement that delivers job security and a pay rise for our members that deals with the escalating cost of living crisis."

The third and final strike of the week is planned for Saturday.

Speaking earlier today, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has branded the rail strikes as “unjustified”.

Mr Javid said: “Well, I think, and I hope actually that the rail workers are quite unique in how they’ve responded to higher inflation because I think their strike is just just completely unjustified.

“It is right that we look to modernise our rail services, it is right we take into account perhaps the longer term impacts of the pandemic with the changing patterns of the way people work.

“I think people recognise also that during the pandemic, the Government put in billions of pounds, I think, some £16billion of extra support for the rail industry. That’s something like £600 per family in the UK. But that can’t be continued.

“We need to recognise this and make a changes and think this strike is unjustified and it’s hurting a lot of people, particularly people trying to get to hospital for their appointments and also you have NHS staff trying to get to the hospitals to help them.”