Summer will be wrecked for hundreds of thousands of Britons, it has been warned, as union bosses vowed to bring the railways to a standstill last night after announcing the biggest strikes since 1989

Summer will be wrecked for hundreds of thousands of Britons, it has been warned, as union bosses vowed to bring the railways to a standstill last night after announcing the biggest strikes since 1989.

The hard-left Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said 50,000 of its workers at  and 13 train operators will walk out on June 21, 23 and 25.

The RMT warned that more strikes would follow if the row over pay and job cuts was not resolved.

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.

Glastonbury starts on June 22 and runs until June 26, with many festival-goers planning to travel to the site by train.

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 techinfluential 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.

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.’

A government 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.

‘These strikes will hugely inconvenience the travelling public, alienating those whose ticket purchases ultimately support RMT jobs – passengers who may never return. What utter folly.’

Pictured: Mick Lynch, boss of the militant RMT union, which has announced a wave of rail strikes later this month

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

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