Rail union TSSA will hold a country wide 24-hour strike next month in an escalation of the ongoing national rail dispute over pay, job security and conditions.
Staff at nine train operating companies (TOCs) as well as Network Rail (NR) will walkout from midday on Monday 26 until midday Tuesday 27 September.
The union remains in talks with NR about the possibility of a settlement. However General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has written to both Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, and bosses of Department for Transport (DfT) held train companies in recent days.
Cortes called for the government to allow TOCs to return to the negotiating table with a revised deal which improves on the insulting 2 per cent offer which was rejected earlier in the summer.
The strike action will coincide with the Labour Party Conference, being held in Liverpool. As a Labour affiliated union TSSA will be looking for support from Conference delegates and MPs to join them on the picket line to show solidarity in fighting the Conservative’s cost of living crisis.
Commenting, TSSA union leader Manuel Cortes said: “The dead hand of Grant Shapps is sadly stopping DfT train operating companies from making a revised, meaningful offer.
“Frankly, he either sits across the negotiating table with our union or gets out of the way to allow railway bosses to freely negotiate with us, as they have done in the past.
“The reason for the current impasse lies squarely at Shapps’ door and passengers are paying a high price for his incompetence and intransigence.
"I welcome the fact that negotiations are ongoing with Network Rail and the gap towards a resolution is narrowing. Time will tell whether a deal can be done to avert our next strike.
"I will be standing on our picket line in Liverpool and will be encouraging fellow delegates and Labour MPs to do likewise, so they can rightly show they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those fighting the Tories’ cost of living crisis."
*Last week hundreds of TSSA members at TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains voted overwhelmingly for strike action.
*TSSA members took strike action on 20 August in Network Rail General Grades (Bands 5-8) and Controllers, Avanti West Coast, c2c, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, LNER and Southeastern on 18 and 20 August.
These companies would be at the centre of the strike on the 26th and 27th September, along with Network Rail.