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Glastonbury revellers may be impacted by the RMT railway strikes

Glastonbury revellers may be impacted by the RMT railway strikes.

The 50th anniversary of the event - which will see acts like Diana Ross, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar take to the stage at the Somerset-based festival from 22 to 25 June after two years away due to COVID-19 - could be affected by the The Rail, Maritime and Transport union’s decision to “shut down the rail system” with industrial action over pay and job losses planned by Network Rail on 21, 23, 25 June, after 40,000 members were balloted across 14 train operators, which potentially could bring the network to a standstill.

Mick Lynch, the union’s general secretary - who speaks for workers employed by Avanti West Coast, LNER, and many other rail providers - said: “We have a cost of living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when [RPI] inflation is at 11.1% and rising. Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.

“Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, while fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic. This unfairness is fuelling our members’ anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.”

The UK government has fired back at their decision to strike, labelling it “incredibly disappointing” whale citing the pandemic as a force driving passenger levels on trains.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary said: “It is incredibly disappointing the RMT have decided to take action that could drive passengers away from the rail network for good.

“The pandemic has changed travel habits – with 25% fewer ticket sales and the taxpayer stepping in to keep the railways running at a cost of £16bn, equivalent to £600 per household. We must act now to put the industry on a sustainable footing.“We are working with industry to reduce disruption caused by strike action, but unions are jumping the gun by announcing this when talks have only just begun.”

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