LONDON: British rail workers will strike this month following a "paltry" pay offer, the RMT union said on Wednesday, announcing the latest in a growing catalogue of industrial unrest as workers demand wage rises to cope with soaring inflation.
The stoppages will be on July 27, the union said, leaving travellers facing further disruption during the school holidays after tens of thousands of striking workers brought Britain's rail network close to a standstill last month.
The RMT said Network Rail, the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the rail network in Britain, had made an offer of 4%, followed by a possible 4% the following year dependent on staff accepting changes to their contracts.
Inflation in Britain is due expected to rise above 10% later this year but the government has urged restraint in pay settlements to avoid fuelling an inflationary spiral.
"The offer from Network Rail represents a real terms pay cut for our members and the paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives," general secretary Mick Lynch said in statement.
"Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes."
Transport minister Grant Shapps criticised the union for rejecting the pay offer, saying in a statement that RMT was "hellbent on causing further misery for people across the country".
Another trade union on Wednesday said 700 of its members working for rail operators had voted in favour industrial action, but dates had not yet been set.
Earlier this week, other groups of British rail and transport workers also voted in favour of strike action.
Staff at airlines and airports have also taken action or are planning walk-outs.