Northern rail services in Bolton, Greater Manchester and beyond could be set to be hit by the biggest national rail strikes in decades.

This comes with 40,000 members of the Rail and Maritime Workers Union having voted to take strike action against alleged plans to cut at least 2,500 maintenance jobs as part of a £2billion spending cut

The action is set to hit train operators including Northern, which runs services to and from Bolton,  Avanti West Coast, Greater Anglia, GWR, LNER, and South Western Railway.

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 total of 89 per cent of workers who turned out voted in favour of strike action with 11 per cent voting against.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association is also preparing a ballot, according to general secretary Manuel Cortes.

The RMT says this is the biggest endorsement for strike action since the railways were privatised in the 1990s.

The strikes could mean trains will only run for part of the day, such as from 7am to 7pm and only on main lines, with services also being reduced to around a fifth of the normal weekday timetable.

This could cost the rail industry around £30 million each day.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “The RMT has jumped the gun here as everyone loses if there’s a strike.

“We know our people are concerned about job security and pay. As a public body we have been working on offering a pay increase that taxpayers can afford, and we continue to discuss this with our trade unions.

“We urge the RMT to sit down with us and continue to talk, not walk, so that we can find a compromise and avoid damaging industrial action.”