Basingstoke's MP is calling on the rail unions to scrap planned industrial action, which she points out will coincide with local school and college exams.

As previously reported, the strike action is planned for 21, 23 and 25 June and large parts of the national network will be closed.

The action covers all 14 train operators and Network Rail, alongside simultaneous strikes by London Underground staff. South Western Railways - the main operator in Basingstoke - has 2,100 RMT Union members and will therefore be heavily impacted.

Maria Miller MP said: “It is most concerning that strike action on the railway network for the week of 21 June will likely go ahead. This will cause major disruption to rail services across the country, including Basingstoke.

READ MORE: Travellers should expect 'severe disruption' as rail firms announce strike schedule for next week

“Many Basingstoke train commuters include health workers and contract workers who don’t have the luxury of shifting to home working on train strike days; others are school and college students taking important public exams. After more than two years of nationwide disruption, which has left the railways reeling, this threatened strike action will do little to help encourage passengers to go back onto our train network and will create further knock-on damage to our town and city centres. I hope Unions have a change of heart to avoid this strike action at all costs."

She continued: “South Western Railway (SWR) is doing all it can ahead of this Union action, to try to have a skeleton service running between Basingstoke and London Waterloo. However, this will be a much reduced service and will inevitably lead to significant disruption for all of us who rely on the railways to get to work, school or college."

Meanwhile, Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire, has also backed calls for cancellation of strikes.

He said: "This morning members were briefed by Claire Mann, managing director of South Western Railway about the strike action due to start next week. The impact on all stations on the line will be very serious and effectively mean the whole of next week will be impacted.

"This will come as a blow to many of my constituents who rely on the railway, and have recently been returning to their usual travel patterns post pandemic. Along with the Prime Minister, I call on the unions to cancel the strike and return to the negotiating table.

"Our railways must be modernised and we should all have the best interests of the travelling public in mind as we move UK rail into the 21st century."

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