Travel plans in chaos as rail strikes set to hit Eurovision and FA Cup final
Rail workers at 14 train operators are to strike on the day of the Eurovision Song Contest final after union leaders rejected the latest offer aimed at resolving a long-running pay dispute.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on 13 May after the union’s executive turned down a “clarification“ on an offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
The RMT said the offer included a first-year payment of 5% but only if the union terminated its industrial mandate, meaning no further strike action could take place.
Bill Addy from Liverpool BID Company said:
“The economic impact in terms of disruption to travel plans is massive.
“We need government, rail operators and unions to resolve this quickly. It’s been dragging on far too long.”
The union said discussions would then have to begin without it having any industrial leverage at the negotiating table.
The RMT union told Granada Reports laws surrounding industrial action mean Saturday 13 May is the only option available to them.
They say Merseyrail will continue to run services throughout the whole day and up to 3am after the event has finished.
The news follows an earlier announcement by the drivers union Aslef of strikes on 12 and 31 May, as well as on 3 June, the day of the FA Cup Final.
The RMT is re-balloting its members on 14 train operating companies on whether to continue taking industrial action, with a result expected on 4 May.
The planned strike will mean thousands of fans of both Manchester United and Manchester City will need to find alternative transport to Wembley for the final.
Jay Mottershead from Manchester United’s the Stretford Paddock said:
“Both sets of fans taking the train, I thought that will be carnage.
“For the semi-final, I drove down and that’s probably what I’m going to do again.
“I think having two sets of fans on the train at any time would be difficult, but United and City fans on the day of the first Manchester derby FA Cup Final, it’ll be carnage.”
“There is some irony where for years the final has come when there have been no trains to Manchester after the full-time whistle and then the year there is a 3pm kick-off, there are still no trains.
“I hope it becomes a lot more about the situation in the country at the moment. There’s not been a huge outcry, I think a lot of people can see the bigger picture.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:
“Passengers have been forced to endure the RMT’s strike action for almost a year, yet the RMT executive is intent on continuing to force its members to lose even more pay.
“That’s despite having a best and final offer, similar to the pay offer their Network Rail members recently voted to overwhelmingly accept.
“By yet again denying their members a chance to have a say, and then striking over the UK’s first Eurovision event in 25 years – hosted for Ukraine – the RMT are simply further snubbing the very passengers they serve.”