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Glastonbury travel could be severely hit by nationwide train strikes

Glastonbury attendees could be forced to rethink their journey after the national strikes were confirmed

By Nick Reilly

Glastonbury attendees arrive at the festival (Picture: Alamy)
Glastonbury attendees arrive at the festival (Picture: Alamy)

Glastonbury attendees could be hit by nationwide train strikes after it was confirmed that thousands of rail workers will walk out for three days later this month in the largest bout of industrial action since 1989.

The RMT union has revealed plans for nationwide train strikes at Network Rail and 13 other operators on June 21, 23 and 25 following a prolonged dispute over pay.

It means those travelling to the iconic festival by train could face severe disruption, with many attendees heading down to Castle Cary station as they prepare to descend on Worthy Farm in Somerset across those dates.

The RMT has confirmed that 50,000 workers will walk out on June 21, with 40,000 more on the subsequent dates, which marks the biggest strike on the railways since 1989.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.

“We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1% and rising.

“Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system.

“Rail companies are making at least £500m a year in profits, whilst fat cat rail bosses have been paid millions during the Covid-19 pandemic. This unfairness is fuelling our members anger and their determination to win a fair settlement.”

Cash said the RMT remained open to negotiations, but warned that new proposals would be needed to prevent “months of disruption”.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive, said: “We continue to meet with our trades unions to discuss their pay concerns and we’re doing everything we can to avoid strike action on the railway.

“We know that the cost of living has increased and we want to give our people a pay rise, but the RMT must recognise we are a public body and any pay increase has to be affordable for taxpayers. Travel habits have changed forever and the railway must change as well.

“We cannot expect to take more than our fair share of public funds, and so we must modernise our industry to put it on a sound financial footing for the future. Failure to modernise will only lead to industry decline and more job losses in the long run.

“There are two weeks until the first strike is planned. We will use this time to keep talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that strike action would cause all involved.”

Glastonbury is yet to comment on the potential disruptions.

Last week, Glastonbury shared the full line-up and set times for this year’s festival.

Organisers unveiled the first wave of acts in early March, with Billie EilishPaul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar set to top the bill.