Greater than 40,000 railway staff are to be balloted in a dispute over jobs and pay {that a} union says may lead to Britain’s greatest rail strike in fashionable historical past.

The Nationwide Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Employees (RMT) mentioned employees can be requested to vote on strike motion over Community Rail’s plans to chop at the very least 2,500 upkeep jobs as a part of a £2bn discount in spending on the community.

In the meantime, staff at prepare operators have been topic to pay freezes and adjustments to their phrases and circumstances.

The RMT mentioned it was the most important poll it has undertaken of its members for a single dispute because the union was fashioned in 1990. The poll opens on 26 April and closes on 24 Could, so strike motion may start in June.

The dispute is only one of many battles over pay being fought throughout the UK as wage will increase fail to maintain up with a hovering price of inflation that hit 7% final month and is forecast to rise to 10%.

The Communication Employees Union introduced on Wednesday that Put up Workplace staff have been to stage a one-day strike on 3 Could. The CWU mentioned the motion was in response to a pay freeze for 2021 and the provide of a 2% improve from April this 12 months alongside a £250 one-off lump sum, which officers described as “exceptionally poor”.

The RMT’s normal secretary, Mick Lynch, mentioned: “Railway staff have needed to deal with pay freezes, the prospect of shedding their jobs and repeated assaults on their phrases and circumstances.

“Eradicating 2,500 safety-critical jobs from Community Rail will spell catastrophe for the general public, make accidents extra probably and can improve the opportunity of trains flying off the tracks.

He added that “1000’s of railway staff” had seen their dwelling requirements “plummet” and had “run out of persistence”.

The poll will likely be amongst RMT members on Community Rail and the prepare operators Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Higher Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Nice Western Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, South Western Railway, Island Line, GTR (together with Gatwick Categorical), TransPennine Categorical, Avanti West Coast, and West Midlands Trains.

Community Rail was “dissatisfied” that the RMT had taken the choice to poll for strike, its regional director Tim Shoveller mentioned.

He mentioned the pandemic had hit the railway exhausting including: “We all know journey habits and passenger demand have modified and the business has to vary, too. We can’t preserve counting on authorities handouts, and so we should work along with prepare operators and our trades unions to save lots of tens of millions of kilos and ship a extra environment friendly railway.”

The Put up Workplace strike will contain counter employees, in addition to these in clerical, administration and name centres. So-called crown publish workplaces will likely be affected as will smaller sub-post workplaces.

A Put up Workplace spokesperson mentioned: “We need to guarantee our prospects that the overwhelming majority of our 11,500 branches are unaffected by this choice and can stay open all through the day.”

In the meantime, at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), UK staff have voted for industrial motion for the primary time within the pharmaceutical agency’s historical past. The employees, members of the union Unite, voted 86% in favour of strike motion.

Unite mentioned GSK, which produces merchandise similar to Sensodyne and Panadol in addition to medicines for combating essential diseases, has a 48-hour window to make a “much-improved provide” or strike motion will likely be introduced.

Unite’s normal secretary, Sharon Graham, mentioned: “By no means earlier than have our members at GSK voted for strike motion – their anger is a transparent response to the corporate’s colossal company greed.”

GSK made a revenue of £8.8bn final 12 months.

A spokesperson for GSK mentioned: “We recognise the affect inflation charges are having on individuals across the nation and are strongly dedicated to supporting the expert individuals who work in GSK manufacturing.

“Now we have provided a 4% improve to base wage, along with a one-off award – equal to round 2% of base wage – in addition to an annual bonus for 2021 which paid out above-target.

“We’re dissatisfied that the Unite union has taken the choice to strike, however stay dedicated to working with them to discover a resolution.”