Rail staff are to have a nationwide ballot on industrial action after unions and Network Rail failed to reach agreement about pensions.
Union leaders representing Network Rail and train service company employees decided to press ahead with a series of ballots after talks aimed at breaking the deadlock failed.
The industry-wide Railway Pensions Scheme is in crisis, according to unions. They are calling for the restoration of pension rights as they were before the privatisation of the rail industry int he late 1990s.
However, a Network Rail spokesman said: “Our scheme is sound and over the past three years we have worked with our employees and the unions to increase the scheme’s funding levels and this has proved to be effective.”
If a strike goes ahead, it will be the first industry-wide stoppage since the General Strike in 1926 and will cripple the rail network, causing travel chaos across the country.