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National strike looms over rail pay

Railway tracks snaking through south London. Photo Workers.

Rail unions RMT and TSSA look set to call around 20,000 Network Rail staff out on strike in a fight over pay after talks at ACAS broke down. This will be the first national rail strike since the railways were privatised in 1996.

Network Rail, which runs Britain’s rail infrastructure, officially became a public sector company last September. The rail unions have rejected Network Rail’s attempts to foist upon rail workers the sort of pay cuts that have been imposed on other parts of the public sector, describing the latest pay proposals as falling well short of what is required to maintain the living standards, job security and working conditions of the staff.