By Aysu Bicer
LONDON (AA) - The UK's Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union has announced additional strike dates in the run-up to Christmas as it rejected a pay offer from Network Rail.
Mick Lynch, the RMT's general secretary, on Monday said "it was unfortunate that that union had been compelled to take this action due to the continuing intransigence of the employers."
"We remain available for talks in order to resolve these issues but we will not bow to pressure from the employers and the government to the detriment of our members," he added.
About 40,000 staff members across Network Rail and 14 other rail firms are expected to go ahead with the industrial action on Dec. 13, 14, 16 and 17 as previously planned.
With the new announcement, rail workers will also go on strike from 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve until 5.59 a.m. on Dec. 27.
The RMT statement said "there has been no improved offer from the Rail Delivery Group" and the union "awaits the outcome of a planned meeting" with the RDG on Tuesday.
The RDG said it had offered a 4% pay rise for this year, and another 4% for 2023, saying the offer "reflects cost-of-living challenges as well as guarantees on no compulsory redundancies until 1 April 2024."
Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s chief negotiator, said the RMT is "playing fast and loose with people’s Christmas plans and the new strike dates announced deliberately target vital engineering work designed to improve the railway."
Britain is currently experiencing a wave of industrial action, including those from nurses, postal workers and university lecturers, sparked by a bitter cost-of-living crisis triggered by soaring inflation and a deteriorating economy.