RMT railway strike could hit trains through Cambridgeshire this summer
- Credit: Aaron Chown/PA
A rail strike could hit trains in Cambridgeshire this summer.
RMT union members who work for 14 railway firms are set to strike from mid-June, which will disrupt summer train travel if it goes ahead.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union, said the strike received "overwhelming" support from railway staff, who are seeking a pay rise, job security and a block on compulsory redundancies.
But UK Hospitality, a consortium for the food, drink and accommodation industry, said the plans could "set back" economic recovery following Covid-19 and a cost of living crisis.
Mr Lynch said: "Today's overwhelming endorsement by railway workers is a vindication of the union's approach and sends a clear message that members want a decent pay rise, job security and no compulsory redundancies."
Of the 71 percent of RMT members who were balloted, 89pc voted in favour of a strike, with just 11pc voting against.
Mr Lynch added: "Our NEC will now meet to discuss a timetable for strike action from mid-June, but we sincerely hope ministers will encourage the employers to return to the negotiating table and hammer out a reasonable settlement with the RMT."
The union claims some of its members are in the third year of a pay freeze.
In Cambridgeshire, strikes are set to take place at:
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- East Midlands Railway
- Greater Anglia
Staff at Network Rail are expected to take part in a national strike for the first time since 1994.
Elsewhere in the country, disruption could take place at trains and stations run by:
- Chiltern Railways
- Great Western Railway
- Northern Trains
- South Western Railway
- Transpennine Express
- Avanti West Coast
- West Midlands Trains
Workers at GTR, which runs Thameslink and Great Northern trains through Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, voted for "action short of a strike" - working to rule rather than overtime or beyond the contract requirements.
UK Hospitality's CEO Kate Nicholls warned against the strike, which could discourage UK and international tourism.
Ms Nicholls said: "Trains are essential across the country for the safe transport of staff and customers.
"A lack of commuter trains bringing people into towns and cities will further set back the recovery of our high streets and will also deter people from going out in the evening - especially women and vulnerable people who may rely on trains to get them home and feel safe late at night.
"Furthermore, as we come into the crucial summer months, disruption on the rail network will discourage both UK and international tourism.
"Strikes would inevitably damage our already fragile hospitality businesses, which would have a negative knock-on effect to the wider UK economy."
Tourism in Cambridge city alone is worth £867 million, according to Visit East of England.
James Burles, of Greater Anglia, said: "We are working on a number of contingency options with the aim of providing our customers with the best possible service depending on the circumstances.
"We will keep passengers updated about what they can expect during any industrial action - should it go ahead - so that they can plan their journeys."
Andrew Haines, of Network Rail, said: "The RMT has jumped the gun here as everyone loses if there’s a strike. We know our people are concerned about job security and pay.
"As a public body we have been working on offering a pay increase that taxpayers can afford, and we continue to discuss this with our trades unions.
"We urge the RMT to sit down with us and continue to talk, not walk, so that we can find a compromise and avoid damaging industrial action."
"If they really got to that point then minimum service levels would be a way to work towards protecting those freight routes and those sorts of things," Mr Shapps said.
Mr Lynch of the RMT responded: "Any attempt by Grant Shapps to make effective strike action illegal on the railways will be met with the fiercest resistance from RMT and the wider trade union movement.
"The government need to focus all their efforts on finding a just settlement to this rail dispute, not attack the democratic rights of working people."