HARDLINE unions have threatened a Summer of Discontent over new laws to curb strikes and stop Britain grinding to a halt.
Emergency plans are being drawn up to thwart militant leaders in a row over pay and upgrading our creaking railways.
Empty shelves and commuter chaos could be on the cards as RMT bosses prepare for a ballot of their 40,000 members tomorrow.
The unions are poised to launch the biggest rail strike in modern history next month.
PM Boris Johnson is set to hold meetings with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week to hammer out emergency plans.
Mr Shapps wants to bring forward new laws to force unions to put on trains even during strikes.
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But Unite general secretary Sharon Graham raged: “Unite will confront head-on, and by whatever means necessary, any further attacks on the right to strike.”
Government sources last night accused archaic unions of presiding over a “fossilised, slowly-declining railway”.
Emergency action to keep Britain moving may mean prioritising freight trains to keep food on shelves and petrol in the pumps.
Demand for trains at peak times has dropped since Covid as more people travel off-peak or work from home — forcing train operators to look at where to make cuts.
But RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “Railway workers have had to contend with pay freezes and the prospect of losing their jobs.
“Removing 2,500 safety-critical jobs from Network Rail makes accidents more likely.”
The Department for Transport slammed union leaders for using strikes as a first, not last, resort before negotiating.