Commuters face summer of delays as rail workers vote for strike action

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The Northern and Southern Rail engineers were the latest to announce a five-day strike on Friday beginning on 12 July.

The Rail and Maritime Transport (RMT) union said the Southern Rail strike was the result of a “comprehensive breakdown” in industrial relations, in reference to the governments newly announced plans to revise striking laws.

The strikes also come following the announcement of an overnight tube service, and RMT members will join a planned 24-hour strike by London Underground drivers’ union Aslef on 8 July over these proposals.

The BBC reports that RMT members working for First Great Western have also voted to strike after failing to reach assurances over jobs, which they fear are under threat from the introduction of new Hitachi Inter-City trains from 2017.

Workers will work out at 18:30 on 8 July, and RMT members working for Southern Rail will walk out from 17:00 on 12 July. They will also ban overtime over the weekend of 10-12 July.

Union members at Southern, which operates commuter services between London and the Sussex coast, voted 9-1 for strike action, the RMT said. It added that Northern Rail workers also voted 4-1 in favour of strike action.

The RMT said hundreds of engineers were involved in the dispute and warned the strike would hit services.

The union said it was in dispute with Northern Rail over a series of issues, including the removal of permanent posts and the creation of zero-hour jobs via a contract with a security company, cuts to booking offices and attacks on the role and responsibility of train guards.

The union said Northern Rail had also given no commitment that there would be no compulsory redundancies beyond the end of its current franchise in February 2016.

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