Rail staff are threatening to bring the nation to a 'standstill' this summer as they claim to take action on the biggest strike in recent history. 

The Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union is set to ballot over 40,000 staff on the potential to start industrial action in a row over pay and jobs. 

If members of the union were to back the motion, passengers would be impacted by stoppages from as early as June, creating a summer of chaos for the transport system. 

The news comes after the RMT claimed that Network Rail is planning to cut at least 2,500 safety-critical maintenance jobs as part of the £2 billion reductions in spending. 

The union says workers at train operators have been subject oy pay freezes and forces changes to their terms and conditions. 

The RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Railway workers have had to contend with pay freezes, the prospect of losing their jobs and repeated attacks on their terms and conditions.

"Removing 2,500 safety-critical jobs from Network Rail will spell disaster for the public, make accidents more likely and will increase the possibility of trains flying off the tracks."

He added that the recent soaring living costs and inflation rises have has a damaging affect on train workers. 

"Thousands of railway workers have seen their living standards plummet and have run out of patience," he went on.

"The way for trade unions to effectively take on the cost-of-living crisis is to stand up for their members at work and take industrial action when employers are not moved by the force of reasoned argument.

"A national rail strike will bring the country to a standstill, but our members’ livelihoods and passenger safety are our priorities."

Ballots will open on April 26 and close on May 24 with the potential for strike action to start as soon as June. 

The strikes would include RMT members on Network Rail and major train operators including, Cross Country Trains, East Midlands Railway, Transpennine Express, and Avanti West Coast.