Railway workers have voted overwhelmingly to strike in a bitter dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, threatening massive disruption to the network in the coming weeks.
The union’s leaders will now decide when to call strikes, which will bring huge parts of the network to a standstill.
The union said it was the biggest endorsement for industrial action by railway workers since privatisation.
A total of 71 per cent of those balloted took part in the vote with 89 per cent voting in favour of strike action and 11 per cent voting against.
The union will now be demanding urgent talks with Network Rail and the 15 train operating companies.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Today’s overwhelming endorsement by railway workers is a vindication of the union’s approach and sends a clear message that members want a decent pay rise, job security and no compulsory redundancies.
“Our NEC will now meet to discuss a timetable for strike action from mid-June, but we sincerely hope ministers will encourage the employers to return to the negotiating table and hammer out a reasonable settlement with the RMT.”
A walkout by Network Rail signallers will have a significant impact on services.
It is possible that trains will only run for part of the day, such as from 7am to 7pm and only on main lines.
Services could be reduced to around a fifth of the normal weekday timetable.