RMT railway strike could hit trains through Cambridgeshire this summer

RMT members at Greater Anglia have voted to strike, which could impact trains between Cambridge and London Liverpool Street

RMT members at Greater Anglia have voted to take part in strike action, which could impact trains between Ely, Cambridge, Stansted Airport and London Liverpool Street (pictured) - 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.

Staff at Greater Anglia, which runs trains Ely, Cambridge and London Liverpool Street, are set to strike from mid-June

Staff at Greater Anglia, which runs trains Ely, Cambridge and London Liverpool Street, are set to strike from mid-June - Credit: Greater Anglia

UK Hospitality fears the planned rail strike from mid-June could discourage domestic and international travel

UK Hospitality fears the planned rail strike from mid-June could discourage domestic and international travel as the industry recovers from the impact of Covid-19 - Credit: Will Durrant

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:

Most Read

  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Greater Anglia
  • LNER
East Midlands Railway staff voted to strike

East Midlands Railway staff voted to strike - Credit: East Midlands Railway (EMR)

CrossCountry trains through Cambridge and Peterborough could be disrupted by the strike

CrossCountry trains through Cambridge and Peterborough could be disrupted by the strike - Credit: Roger King/Saffron Photo

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
  • c2c
  • Great Western Railway
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • 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.

RMT members who work for Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express have voted for "action short of a strike"

RMT members who work for Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express have voted for "action short of a strike" - Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Gatwick Express trains, run by GTR, could also be disrupted by "action short of a strike"

Gatwick Express trains, run by GTR, could also be disrupted by "action short of a strike" - Credit: Gatwick Express

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.

Tourism in Cambridge city alone is worth £867 million, according to Visit East of England

Tourism in Cambridge city alone is worth £867 million, according to Visit East of England - Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

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."

Transport secretary Grant Shapps wants to create a "minimum service requirement" for railways

Transport secretary Grant Shapps, pictured here with Will Durrant (journalist), wants to create a "minimum service requirement" for railways which could rule out disruptive strike action - Credit: Danny Loo Photography

Transport secretary Grant Shapps MP told the Sunday Telegraph he would like to put a "minimum service level" requirement in place, which could outlaw future strike 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."