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Railway workers set to stage series of strikes across December and January

Railway workers are to stage a series of 48-hour strikes in December and January in the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

More than 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will strike on December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and on January 3, 4, 6 and 7.

There will also be an overtime ban across the railways from December 18 until January 2, meaning RMT will be taking industrial action for four weeks.

A statement said: "Despite every effort made by our negotiators, it is clear that the Government is directly interfering with our attempts to reach a settlement.

"The union suspended previous strike action in good faith to allow for intensive negotiations to resolve the dispute.

"Yet Network Rail have failed to make an improved offer on jobs, pay and conditions for our members during the last two weeks of talks.

"At the same time Rail Delivery Group, representing the train operating companies, have also broken a promise to make a meaningful offer on pay and conditions and even cancelled negotiations that were due to take place yesterday."

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "This latest round of strikes will show how important our members are to the running of this country and will send a clear message that we want a good deal on job security, pay and conditions for our people.

"We have been reasonable, but it is impossible to find a negotiated settlement when the dead hand of Government is presiding over these talks.

"The employers are in disarray and saying different things to different people, sometimes at the same time.

"This whole process has become a farce that only the new secretary of state can resolve. When I meet him later this week, I will deliver that message.

"In the meantime, our message to the public is, we are sorry to inconvenience you, but we urge you to direct your anger and frustration at the Government and railway employers during this latest phase of action.

"We call upon all trades unionists in Britain to take a stand and fight for better pay and conditions in their respective industries.

"And we will seek to co-ordinate strike action and demonstrations where we can.

"Working people across our class need a pay rise and we are determined to win that for our members in RMT."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Strike action risks putting the very future of the entire industry in jeopardy.

"These strikes are not only damaging the economy but they're cutting off people in need of urgent care, children going to school and hardworking families.

"The rail industry is facing serious financial challenges and is in desperate need of vital reforms to address them.

"We once again urge union leaders to work with employers and come to an agreement which is fair for passengers, taxpayers and workers alike ."

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