Labour backs union plot for ‘coordinated’ walkouts on railways, roads, Tubes AND airports

Labour frontbencher BACKS crippling rail strikes: Lisa Nandy says the party is ‘on the rail workers’ side’ as union barons plot to hold the country to ransom for more pay with coordinated walkouts at TfL, airports, BT AND Royal Mail

Britons face more travel misery as thousands of railways workers voted to stage three days of strikes in June The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and 13 train operators voted to strike after talks broke down Strike action will take place on June 21, 23 and 25 with a further strike planned for London Underground Multiple-day strikes could lead to lights going out in places due to freight services to power stations being hit And now union members at Royal Mail, BT, airports and councils and schools could also take strike action 

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Labour today came out in favour of June’s crippling rail strikes as Britain’s unions vowed to bring the country to a standstill in a ‘summer of discontent’ not seen since the 1926 General Strike with railway and Tube workers set to be bolstered by 155,000 comrades at airports, Royal Mail and BT.

Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy revealed she supported the strikes by rail workers in the coming weeks – breaking ranks with Labour’s leadership including Sir Keir Starmer, who has dodged the issue so far. 

Union barons stand accused of ‘holding the country to ransom’ having vowed to work together to ensure the disruption they cause in the coming weeks and months ‘will be unparalleled’ and timed to cause the ‘maximum possible disruption’ to Britons as they push for 10%-plus pay rises.

More than 50,000 members of the hard-left Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) working for London Underground and 13 rail operators will down tools on June 21, 23 and 25 – the largest walkouts since 1989. The strike is pencilled in for three days – but the disruption will last for at least six days.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Ms Nandy said: ‘We want to avoid the strikes and we’re on the public’s side on this. We’re also on the rail workers’ side. They’re dealing with the same pressures that everyone else is – the cost of food, the cost of soaring inflation rates, taxes going up, and they’re really struggling to make ends meet.

‘They’re the people that we went out and applauded during the pandemic because they kept our services going and they’ve seen their pay in real terms attacked again and again over the last decade.’ Several other MPs broke ranks last night, saying they backed the RMT ‘100 per cent’ and said the Government is forcing ‘the British working class to beg’.

Amid problems across the Tube this morning, Unite has said 1,000 of its members would also strike on the Tube on June 21, which will see most of the network shut down and millions of Londoners struggling to commute or forced to work from home.

Britons suffered a ‘half term from hell’ last week after major disruption at airports due to shortages of staff. Today it emerged that baggage handlers, check-in staff and ground staff could choose to strike over pay and conditions this summer.

And more than 150,000 union members working for key services such as the Royal Mail and BT could choose to strike within the next week. 

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA union, said: ‘The disruption will be unparalleled. I don’t think we will have seen anything like it since the 1926 General Strike. That’s the last time the three unions came out together. And we will coordinate our action. It’ll be a summer of discontent no doubt. If it comes to it, I’ll have a strategy in place that causes the maximum possible disruption.’ 

But Karl McCartney, Tory MP for Lincoln, told the Telegraph that unions are ‘holding the country to ransom’ and their left-wing bosses are ‘harking back to an age when they had a purpose and a reason to be hard-nosed and rough and ready with their pugnaciousness. But those days are long-gone’.

The Government has been slammed for failing to keep its manifesto pledge and bring in legislation that will ensure a minimum train service of around 30% during strikes, which is already mandatory in France and Spain. 

Strikes could soon be widened beyond public transport, to include: 

Unite and GMB union members are balloting check-in staff and ground staff based at Heathrow while baggage handlers at Stansted could also strike after rejecting a four per cent pay increase;115,000 members of the Communication Workers Union working for Royal Mail will be balloted for industrial action on June 15;On the same day 40,000 BT workers from the same union will also asked if they want to walk out in what would be the first national strike at the former state-owned firm since the 1980s;And this Autumn 1.4 million local government workers, in schools and councils, could also strike if they do not get a £2,000 pay rise in a 11.1% pay deal set to be submitted by Friday; 

Labour MPs have also come out in favour of the strikes planned for the end of June

In a picture of things to come, there were major delays across the Tube this morning. The network will be shut down by strikes 

Mick Lynch (pictured), who enjoys £125,000-a-year in pay and benefits as chief of the hard-left Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), dismissed public anger on Wednesday over plans for 50,000 rail workers across the country to strike on June 21, 23 and 25 – the largest walkouts since 1989

Commuters will be encouraged to work from home during the train strikes as contingency plans may involve complete overnight shutdowns – as the biggest rail strikes for more than 30 years are planned for June. 

Mick Lynch, who enjoys £125,000-a-year in pay and benefits as chief of the hard-left Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), dismissed public anger on Wednesday over plans for 50,000 rail workers across the country to strike on June 21, 23 and 25 – the largest walkouts since 1989 – warning that more strikes would follow if a row over pay and job cuts was not resolved.

The strikes will disrupt work, school and events for millions of people, with students who miss their GCSE exams set to be given a grade that takes ‘circumstances beyond their control’ into consideration, it has emerged.

Ministers and Network Rail are now putting contingency plans in place which would see freight trains prioritised over passenger services to prevent blackouts in some areas and ensure supermarket shelves and petrol forecourts remain stocked. 

Multiple-day strikes could lead to lights going out in places due to freight services to power stations being hit, ministers have been told. 

Although a blanket ban will not be issued by train operators, passengers will be advised to ‘not travel unless it is absolutely necessary’ despite three in four adults in Britain now travelling to work at some point during the week – up from two-thirds a month ago.

The strike is another blow to travellers who are already facing a summer of chaos at airports due to staff shortages. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the calls to get people back into the office following the Covid pandemic, having claimed recently that working from home is not working.

Mr Johnson told the Daily Mail: ‘My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.’

The contingency plans include a total shutdown of passenger rail travel before 7.30 am or after 6.30 pm during the three days of industrial action, planned for the 21, 23 and 25 June. 

However, the network is likely to be a slimline basic service affected from June 21 to 26 – with priority given to freight services, reports The Times.

A senior rail source told the newspaper: ‘We are managing people’s expectations down very firmly. Services will be extremely limited and we’ll need to massively reduce hours of operation while keeping freight moving.’ 

Meanwhile, union barons were accused of a ‘strike first, negotiate second’ approach on Tuesday after ordering crippling walkouts despite being offered a pay increase for their members.

Commuters could be told to work from home during the train strikes as contingency plans may involve complete overnight shutdowns – as the biggest rail strikes for more than 30 years are planned for June

The strikes will disrupt work, school and events for millions of people, with students who miss their GCSE exams set to be given a grade that takes ‘circumstances beyond their control’ into consideration, it has emerged

Network Rail negotiators offered the hard-Left RMT a pay rise of at least 2 per cent, it can be revealed.

The offer is not far off the 3 per cent pay rise ministers last year gave to NHS staff who were on the front line of the battle against Covid.

Negotiators said RMT workers could get an even bigger increase if the union agreed to start discussions on modernising work practices.

But rather than continue talks, on Tuesday the union’s bosses ordered tens of thousands of members to strike on June 21, 23 and 25.

Legal curbs on strikes could be fast-tracked to limit damage of mass walkouts 

Ministers could fast- track legislation to limit the damage caused by mass strikes, it emerged last night.

MPs are calling for laws which would require train companies to run a minimum level of services during walkouts.

They would mirror measures in other European countries such as France, Spain and Italy designed to restrict chaos for travellers and the economy by large-scale industrial action.

A promise to introduce the measures was made in the Conservative manifesto at the 2019 general election. They were put on the back burner in the pandemic.

But Government sources last night said introducing them had ‘assumed a new importance’ after the RMT called national rail walkouts on June 21, 23 and 25.

A source said: ‘It’s come up the ministerial agenda very high.’ As a result, new measures could be in place sooner than planned. However, the source stressed primary legislation would likely be required, meaning they are unable to be brought in for several months – which would not be in time for the RMT walkouts.

Senior Tory MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons transport committee, joined calls for the measures to be fast-tracked yesterday.

He said: ‘We regard rail as an essential service; that’s why we kept it running during the pandemic… if it was right that we kept the railway running then, it’s surely right that we keep it running during industrial action.’

He added: ‘If the Government wants to succeed in reforming the railways and getting through this industrial action then it may well need legislation in place in order to strengthen its arm.

‘Without that it will be difficult just to negotiate with the unions if the trains grind to a halt, which it looks as if they will.’ 

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Ministers and Network Rail are putting contingency plans in place which would see freight trains prioritised over passenger services to prevent blackouts in some areas and ensure supermarket shelves and petrol forecourts remain stocked.

Multiple-day strikes could lead to lights going out in places due to freight services to power stations being hit, ministers have been told.

The strikes have left Britons furious as it will effect a series of upcoming events this summer, including the Glastonbury Festival between June 22 and June 26. That week will also see England play New Zealand in a Test match in Leeds, the British Athletics Championships in Manchester, and gigs in London‘s Hyde Park by Sir Elton John (June 24) and The Rolling Stones (June 25).

There will also be a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London on June 24 and 25 and it is Armed Forces Day on June 25.

National Rail has been forced to suspend the sales of advance tickets for the strike days until emergency timetables have been finalised – meaning the UK’s railway network, already handed £16billion of taxpayers’ money to keep it going in the pandemic, is being starved of more funds.

And South Western Railway, which runs services to some of Britain’s busiest stations including Waterloo and Clapham Junction, today laid bare the impact the strike will have on the 1.6million passengers that use their trains each day.

Furious concert-goers are now rightly asking ‘how the f**k do we get to Glastonbury’ as they lashed out at Lynch on Twitter over his ‘chaotic’ and ‘nonsense’ plot. But it is not clear what those close to Lynch make of the walkouts – such as his daughter Connie, who partied at Reading Festival in 2019. 

One reveller tweeted: ‘Rail strike on June 25 when I’m darting from London to Sheffield to Bristol to Glastonbury is a nightmare… what the hell?!’. Another said: ‘Train strikes at the end of the month to affect people going to Glastonbury. I’ve come back to absolute chaos and nonsense’. A third posted: ‘Union scumbags now called rail strike over Glastonbury weekend’. 

One reveller raged: ‘Ouch @GWRhelp @networkrailwest train strike during @glastonbury that’s not going to end well for anyone #railstrike’. Another called the train strike ‘crazy’, while one person said they would cancel their trip: ‘Can’t go now. No trains not risking it’.

And seeming to sum up the mood of the nation, one person tweeted: ‘Feeling sad after all that is going on in the world that the rail unions want to spoil Glastonbury for people looking forward to it for three years – by stopping trains – we need more joy in the UK, not strikes’.

Furious concert-goers have lashed out at Lynch on Twitter over his ‘chaotic’ and ‘nonsense’ walkouts

Union boss Mick Lynch was pictured enjoying his journey on the new Elizabeth Line after his RMT union voted to strike across much of the capital’s underground network on Monday, causing widespread chaos in London with most zone 1 stations closed

The £125,000-a-year ‘fat cat’ union boss threatening to grind the UK to a halt: Former electrician Mick Lynch lives in London home worth almost £1m 

General Secretary Mick Lynch – who once sighed ‘All I want from life is a bit of socialism’ – collects a £84,174 salary

The militant RMT union barons causing chaos for commuters are spearheaded by union leader Mick Lynch, who once sighed ‘All I want from life is a bit of socialism’ – and now collects a salary of £84,174. 

His package is reportedly more than £124,000-a-year and he lived in a terraced house in Ealing (pictured) worth approaching £1million. He paid £394,000 for it in 2008.

Lynch has said he ‘will not rest’ until a ‘just’ agreement is reached in the latest strikes. 

In March, Lynch organised the worst Tube strikes in five years – with two days of walkouts against changes to jobs, pensions and working conditions.

Lynch was once considered a centrist compared with former general secretary Bob Crow — but, after taking charge, he said: ‘The unions have got to make a militant stand – and use the strike weapon wherever it’s appropriate’.

He left school at 16 and trained as an electrician but was blacklisted due to union activity, so joined the railways.

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Lynch said: ‘Railway workers have been treated appallingly and, despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry, with the support of the Government, has failed to take their concerns seriously.

‘We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1% and rising. 

‘Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.’

However, Rail Delivery Group chairman Steve Montgomery called the strikes ‘needless and damaging’, and Health Secretary Sajid Javid said union leaders should ‘act like adults’ and come to a ‘sensible solution’ to disputes in the industry.

Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘When it comes to these strikes, it is very disappointing what the unions have said, because it’s not just going to cause misery for the travellers, but it’s actually, I think, the wrong outcome for the workers as well.

‘Because anyone working in this industry, any industry for that matter, you want it to be sustainable for the long term. It’s not possible to keep giving it the same level of support it got during the pandemic.’

Put to him that the Government could legislate to ward off the strikes, he said: ‘There are of course options for the Government. And I know that my colleague, the Secretary of State for Transport, will be looking at all options.

‘But the most important thing right now would be for the union leaders to get around the table with the industry leaders and just basically act like adults and just to come to a sensible solution.’

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said the organisation is ‘doing everything we can’ to avoid the strike action.

‘There are two weeks until the first strike is planned. We will use this time to keep talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that strike action would cause all involved,’ he said.

Rail freight could also be hit, resulting in empty shelves and a petrol shortage. Ministers have been warned that multiple-day strikes could lead to lights going out in places due to trains being unable to supply power stations.

Downing Street has said the Government remains committed to introducing minimum service standards on the railways but indicated legislation was not expected before this month’s planned strikes, despite being in their 2019 manifesto.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We are keeping all options on the table. Minimum services standards are something the Government is committed to.

Which train operators will be affected? 

Union members from National Rail and 13 different operators have voted to carry out strike action this month. 

Those operators are: 

Avanti West Coastc2cChiltern RailwaysCrossCountryEast Midlands RailwayGreater AngliaGWRLNERNorthernSoutheasternSouth Western RailwayTransPennine ExpressWest Midlands Trains (including London Northwestern Railway)

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‘I am not aware of any plans for legislating on that in the next few weeks. Given the scale of these strikes that are imposed, simply introducing one single piece of legislation would not necessarily mitigate against all the damage.’

The spokesman added: ‘First and foremost, it would not be right for the unions to skip the first step in this process – which is to negotiate – and go straight to strike action.’

But critics have urged them to ‘get a grip’. Tory chair of the Commons Transport Commitee, Huw Merriman, called for a minimum service during strikes, like in the EU, where around a third of trains must run during industrial action. He said: ‘The unions have fought very hard. And will not back down. But the Government committed to bringing a minimum service obligation – then it may need that legislation in place to strengthen its hand. We regard the rail as an essential service’.

Travel guru Paul Charles said: ‘It’s looking like a summer meltdown with problems on roads, railways and at airports. Someone has got to get a grip on protecting what used to be the Great British Getaway. At this rate, the whole of the summer is going to be causing real hardship because it will be too unpredictable to travel. So that’s why we need tough decisions, not dithering.’

NR is also drawing up contingency plans, with the strikes expected to cause disruption to services for six days, from the first walkout on Tuesday June 21 to the day after the third strike.

Fewer than one in five trains are likely to run, and only between 7am and 7pm, probably only on main lines.

Industry insiders point to Drax power station in North Yorkshire, which can only stockpile supplies sufficient for two or three days and services millions of homes.

Tesco and Puma Energy, which supplies garage forecourts, have also raised concerns about supply lines.

A Government source said the RMT union’s actions were ‘utter folly’ and would ‘hugely inconvenience’ the travelling public and alienate those whose ticket purchases ‘ultimately support RMT jobs’.

How 1989 rail and Tube strikes caused chaos for commuters

By Harry Howard, History Correspondent for MailOnline 

In 1989, the country was gripped by a wave of strikes by railway and London Underground workers. 

In April 1989, a day-long wildcat Tube strike left hundreds of thousands of Londoners battling to get to work. 

Out of 470 tube drivers, 300 stayed away from work. The strike took place over demands for huge pay hike. 

The union boss who was orchestrating the strikes was Jimmy Knapp, who led the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) and then the newly-formed RMT from 1990. 

The April strike was a sign of worse misery that was to come, with Knapp announcing plans to begin an indefinite Tube strike from May 8. 

British Rail – the state-run body that operated Britain’s railways – had made a seven per cent pay offer that was rejected by the NUR and other rail unions. 

In 1989, the country was gripped by a wave of strikes by railway and London Underground workers. Above: Queues for buses and taxis du

Railway union bosses were also up in arms over a plan to end national wage bargaining. 

At the same time, bus workers were threatening to strike over demands for a 14 per cent pay rise.   

Another factor that was leading to threats by 12,000 Tube workers to strike was a proposal to allow promotion based on merit, rather than giving preference to staff who simply had a record of long service. 

In an attempt to avoid the one-day wildcat walkouts over pay, Tube bosses had offered a £30-a-week pay rise, plus two weeks’ extra holiday. 

The May 8 chaos was at least partly avoided when the High Court banned the Tube strike, because the ballot to members had been incorrectly phrased. Despite this scores of trains were still cancelled as workers downed tools illegally.

The Daily Mail covered the chaos imposed by rail and Tube workers with their strikes in 1989, which reached their peak in the summer before a pay deal ended the disputes

British Rail then tried to end their dispute with workers by paying them the rejected seven per cent rise. 

However, union leader Knapp insisted on pressing on with a series of random 24-hour strikes that would hit every week. 

Another court bid was launched in an attempt to stop the first of the strikes, which had been planned for the middle of June.  

But when the legal attempt failed, millions of commuters suffered travel misery. 

Along with a mass strike by railway workers, Tube and London bus drivers walked out in coordinated fashion. 

A woman stands on her car bonnet as she tries to see a way through traffic queues during another co-ordinated bus and tube strike in London in 1989

In an attempt to beat the strikes, all hotels in the centre of the capital were booked up by firms for their staff, with taxis and coach firms also recording record business. 

Trains from London to Scotland were totally shutdown, whilst the AA warned of a ‘journey into the unknown’ on the roads. 

The following month, successive one-day strikes by rail workers hit on every Wednesday, meaning there where four mass stoppages in four weeks, whilst Tube workers also had a mandate for up to three 24-hour strikes a week.

Tube workers ultimately carried out 13 one-day strikes since their dispute began in April.  

The chaos showed signs of coming to an end at the end of July, when Knapp said he would tell workers to accept British Rail’s pay 8.8 per cent pay offer. 

In August, Tube strikers did the same after accepting a 8.75 per cent increase in basic pay. 

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The source added: ‘The RMT appears to believe that the way you engage in meaningful negotiation is to put a gun to the head of an industry still struggling from the aftershock of the pandemic.’

It is another blow to travellers, who are already facing a summer of chaos at airports due to staff shortages and some airlines overbooking flights, and UK infrastructure as petrol prices hit £2 a litre this week.

The strikes, which start on the Tuesday and run until Saturday, will cause travel chaos for people going to a number of major events, including concerts, test match cricket and the Glastonbury festival – which starts on June 22 and runs until June 26, with many festival-goers planning to travel to the site by train.

The strikes could also cause disruption for voters in the two upcoming by-elections, with both seats being decided on June 23, and GCSE students sitting exams this summer.

Other events that week include England playing New Zealand in a test match in Leeds, the British athletics championships in Manchester, and gigs in London’s Hyde Park by Elton John (June 24) and the Rolling Stones (June 25).

Rail chiefs were last night scrambling to put in place contingency measures which would see freight trains prioritised over passenger services to prevent blackouts in some areas and ensure supermarket shelves and petrol forecourts remain stocked.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said railway workers had been ‘treated appallingly’ and ‘despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously’.

Over the last decade, the median earnings for train drivers have risen 39 per cent, far above the national average of 23 per cent, or 15 per cent for nurses. Train drivers on average earn £59,000, compared with £31,000 for nurses and £41,000 for police officers. Rail workers can also retire at 62, earlier than civil servants, nurses and teachers.

Tory MP Greg Smith, who sits on the Commons transport committee, said: ‘This is our first proper summer of people getting back on and enjoying great sporting, musical and cultural occasions only to find that the summer’s going to be wrecked by dinosaur action from a different era holding the country to ransom.

‘It’s time the RMT woke up, understood the damage they’re causing to people’s lives and livelihoods and got on with providing the service that the nation relies on.’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described the announcement as ‘incredibly disappointing’ and urged the union to return to talks with the rail industry in a bid to prevent ‘driving passengers from the rail network for good’.

The transport watchdog said it is ‘passengers who suffer most’ and said it is vital both parties continue talks to prevent uncertainty.

It comes as the RMT also announced another 24-hour strike on London Underground in a separate row over jobs and pensions.

Tube workers will strike for a second time this month on June 21 to coincide with the first rail strike, threatening widespread travel chaos.

Meanwhile, hundreds of check-in and ground staff employed by British Airways at Heathrow began voting on strike action yesterday.

Members of the Unite and GMB unions are being balloted in a dispute over pay which could cause yet more chaos at the UK’s busiest airport during the summer holiday period.

Travellers continue to experience delays and cancelled flights at Britain’s airports, with thousands of families left stranded abroad.

The union said it will be the biggest strike on the railways since 1989.

Union members voted overwhelmingly for action last month in growing rows over pay and job losses.

The union wants a guarantee that no compulsory redundancies will be made as ministers ask the industry to make £2billion in savings after being bailed out during the pandemic and passenger numbers stabilising at around 75 per cent post-pandemic.

It also wants pay rises for members in line with the RPI rate of inflation – currently 11.1 per cent.

The RMT said rail staff who worked through the pandemic were facing pay freezes and hundreds of job cuts.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.

‘We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1 per cent and rising.

‘Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.

‘Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, while fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.

‘RMT is open to meaningful negotiations with rail bosses and ministers, but they will need to come up with new proposals to prevent months of disruption on our railways.’

Union boss Mick Lynch was pictured enjoying his journey on the new Elizabeth Line after his RMT union voted to strike across much of the capital’s underground network on Monday, causing widespread chaos in London with most zone 1 stations closed

The June 21 strike will see 40,000 workers from Network Rail, which is in charge of infrastructure, and 13 train companies covering most of the country walkout for 24 hours.

In addition 10,000 London Underground workers will strike, also bringing most of the capital’s transport network to a grinding halt.

The 40,000 mainline workers will then strike again on June 23 and 25.

A senior rail industry source said that calling the strikes every other day that week was designed to have maximum impact.

They said: ‘It completely screws the network on the day of strikes and for most of the next days when strikes aren’t happening.

‘Three days, midnight to midnight, basically screws the entire week.’ This is because signallers and other critical workers often start 12-hour shifts at 8pm or 10pm.

But because they won’t turn up on strike days, many won’t be in place to get the railways running again the following morning on non-strike days.

The source added: ‘What it means now is that we will have to do the contingency planning for vital freight routes that we were hoping to avoid.

‘We’ll work with the freight industry over the next two weeks to identify critical routes where freight needs to be delivered and reschedule them into the timetable, prioritising freight over passenger services.’ It means even more passenger trains face being taken out of service.

Ministers have been told that multiple-day strikes could lead to lights going out in places due to freight services being hit.

The strikes, which start on the Tuesday and run until Saturday, will cause travel chaos for people going to a number of major events, including concerts, test match cricket and the Glastonbury festival. Pictured: People enjoy a past Glastonbury festival

Industry insiders point to Drax power station in North Yorkshire, which can only stockpile supplies sufficient for two or three days and services millions of homes.

Tesco and Puma Energy, which supplies garage forecourts, have also raised concerns about supply lines.

Network Rail chief Andrew Haines said: ‘We continue to meet with our trades unions to discuss their pay concerns and we’re doing everything we can to avoid strike action on the railway.

‘We know that the cost of living has increased and we want to give our people a pay rise, but the RMT must recognise we are a public body and any pay increase has to be affordable for taxpayers and passengers.

‘Travel habits have changed forever and the railway must change as well.

‘We cannot expect to take more than our fair share of public funds, and so we must modernise our industry to put it on a sound financial footing for the future.

It comes as students who miss their GCSEs because of rail strikes could still be given a grade that takes ‘circumstances beyond their control’ into consideration.

The Joint Council for Qualifications, which includes the eight biggest exam boards, including AQA, said yesterday: ‘In circumstances where a candidate cannot sit their exam through circumstances beyond their control, then special consideration will apply.’

It added that a grade may be awarded under special consideration if the pupil completes at least one part of the exam.

The council has advised: ‘Students should speak to their school or college who will make an application for special consideration.’

Why is there going to be a national rail strike and what will it mean for millions using trains and Tube each day? 

– What is happening on the trains?

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will strike on June 21, 23 and 25.

– What impact will that have?

Fewer than one in five trains are expected to run on those dates, with services potentially restricted to between 7am and 7pm, and only on main lines.

– Will there be more strikes?

Further industrial action is likely throughout the summer unless a resolution is reached in the dispute over pay, jobs and pensions.

This could put passengers off from making plans to travel by train.

– Are there more London Underground strikes?

10,000 RMT workers will walk out on June 21 to coincide with the first rail strike, increasing the disruption for passengers. 1,000 from Unite will also join.

– Is other industrial action affecting services?

ScotRail has cut daily services by a third due to a pay dispute between the operator and railway unions.

– What about flights?

Airline passengers have suffered widespread cancellations and long queues at airports for several months.

The aviation industry is desperately trying to recruit more workers, but there are fears the chaos could continue during the peak summer holiday period in July and August.

– Should I take a boat instead?

Ferry firms are not suffering the same level of disruption as airlines, although passengers arriving at the Port of Dover before last week’s half-term school holiday were forced to queue for several hours.

– Is driving a better option?

Many people may try to avoid travel disruption by driving to where they need to go.

But motorists are already being hit by record fuel prices, and there are concerns average prices could exceed £2 per litre this summer.

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