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The chief executive of Network Rail said he found the timing of the strike decision by RMT staff as "deplorable" and said they are trying to get them back into negotiation.
Network's Rail's 24-hour strike over the Spring bank holiday is the first test of industrial relations for the new Conservative government.
The Tories are planning tough new laws to stymie the power of the unions in calling strikes but with an 80% ballot turnout, the RMT was well above the government's proposed threshold.
RMT leader Mick Cash said: " We have a massive mandate for action which shows the anger of safety-critical staff across the rail network at attacks on their standards of living and their job security.
"It is appalling that NR are refusing point blank to take this dispute seriously, to understand the deep-seated grievance felt by their staff and to come forward with a renewed offer which protects pay, jobs and safety."
Rail passengers are being warned that services will be at a "standstill" in the morning after the Bank Holiday due to a strike by Network Rail workers due to start at 5pm on Monday May 25.
The union said services will be hit from Monday but warned that the biggest impact will be on the Tuesday.
The strike will affect football fans leaving Wembley after the Championship play-off final, which kicks off at 3pm on bank holiday Monday. An official warned "services will be at a standstill".
There is a programme of Network Rail engineering work being conducted over the bank holiday weekend.
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Tube bosses have revealed the full extent of disruption to London Underground services if next week's national rail strike goes ahead.