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Two 48-hour train strikes to go ahead as hardline RMT rejects latest pay rise

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TWO 48-hour train strikes were set to go ahead from today after the hardline RMT yesterday voted to reject the latest pay offer from Network Rail.
But splits emerged among the strikers as more than a third of the militant union’s membership did not vote to walk out.
Workers represented by Unite chose to settle on a nine per cent pay hike over two years4Workers represented by Unite chose to settle on a nine per cent pay hike over two yearsCredit: PAMick Lynch’s mob were branded 'outliers' by pushing ahead with today and Friday’s action4Mick Lynch’s mob were branded ‘outliers’ by pushing ahead with today and Friday’s actionCredit: AlamyUp to 15,000 operations are expected to be cancelled this week4Up to 15,000 operations are expected to be cancelled this weekCredit: AlamyAnd workers represented by Unite chose to settle on a nine per cent pay hike over two years.
As rail users were already hit by the weather, Mick Lynch’s mob were branded “outliers” by pushing ahead with today and Friday’s action.
Only 63 per cent of their members supported it on an 83 per cent turnout.
Meanwhile ministers held an emergency COBRA meeting ahead of a wave of strikes planned by nurses, paramedics, rail workers and Border Force staff at airports.
Commuter chaos as two 48-hour strikes set for this week Government must not give in and outlaw these crippling and dangerous strikes
After the summit, Cabinet Office boss Oliver Dowden, who is heading up strike contingency plans, pleaded: “My message to them, even now, is please call them off.”
Warning that there were major risks to the public, he added: “The single best thing that can be done to minimise those risks — we can’t eliminate them all together — is for the strikes to be called off and for those unions to once again engage with the employers.
“It’s only fair and reasonable at a time when people are struggling both with the consequences of the situation in Russia and Ukraine, as we emerge from Covid, and indeed this winter, I don’t think most people think it’s fair and reasonable to undertake these strikes.”
Mass disruption
The coordinated walkouts are expected to cause mass disruption, with thousands of NHS operations and appointments cancelled.

The military and civil servants are likely to be brought in to cover Border Force staff, while armed forces will also be deployed to ­hospital trusts.
Taxis will be block-booked to ferry non-vital patients to hospitals.With the rail networks in chaos because of the snow, millions were urged to avoid trains this week.
Limited services will run from 7.30am to 6.30pm on this week’s strike days, although many parts of the country will have none, including most of Scotland and Wales.
A strike by members of Unite at Network Rail will not go ahead after they voted to accept a deal.
Mr Barclay has made clear the Government’s position on pay remains unchanged4Mr Barclay has made clear the Government’s position on pay remains unchangedCredit: PAThey were offered a five per cent pay rise for this year — backdated to January — with another four per cent at the start of 2023 and a guarantee of no compulsory job losses until January 2025.
But the RMT rejected the same offer, with further strikes planned from Christmas Eve to 6am on December 27 potentially ruining festive season celebrations for thousands of stranded Brits.
Meanwhile, hopes are fading that a strike of up to 100,000 nurses this Thursday and the following Tuesday will be averted.
Up to 15,000 operations are expected to be cancelled this week due to the unprecedented demands for a 19 per cent pay rise.
Even Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer branded their ask “unaffordable” yesterday, urging the Royal College of Nurses to be more reasonable.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay met with nursing leaders yesterday after a bitter war of words over industrial action.
But Mr Barclay has made clear the Government’s position on pay remains unchanged.
It comes as ambulance workers are set to walk out a week tomorrow and the following Wednesday.
And angry crews could refuse all 999 calls during stoppages, a union boss has warned.
Paramedics, call handlers and support staff across England will strike but ministers and unions said life-or-death calls will still be attended.
However, Unison’s Alan Lofthouse said rogue staff could take matters into their own hands.
The Army has been deployed to drive ambulances but untrained soldiers will be banned from driving to “blue light” cases.
Urgent 999 calls such as heart attacks and strokes will be answered by paramedics.
Less serious cases will be taken by taxpayer funded taxis and minicabs.
Last night Tory MPs turned fire on the RMT, saying it was not too late for the union to back down and end the industrial action.
Rail Workers
STRIKING in December and January.
The RMT rejected a nine per cent pay rise over two years, but has not publicly said what it would accept.
Nurses
UP to 100,000 to strike on December 15 and 20.
Ministers have offered nurses a rise of four to five per cent, but unions demand 19 per cent.
Posties
ROYAL Mail posties to strike on December 14, 15, 23 and 24.
The CWU has rejected a nine per cent pay hike over 18 months.
Border Force
OFFICERS to strike from December 23 to 31 at seven airports.
The PCS union wants ministers to increase its two per cent pay offer to ten per cent.
Driving Tests
SOME 1,600 driving examiners are walking out over a two per cent pay offer.
Tests in the North East will be the first to be affected today.
Warning for millions of Ring doorbell owners over cold weather and snow todayI'm a mum & can’t be bothered with Christmas dinner…I'll go to McDonald's
Ambo Staff
AROUND 25,000 will walk out on December 21 after voting against a four per cent pay offer.
Another strike will follow on December 28.

Story Credit: thesun.co.uk

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