Network Rail
A nationwide rail strike is set to cause travel chaos over the bank holiday Getty Images

Network Rail workers are set to strike for 24 hours on bank holiday Monday over pay and jobs, in the first nationwide rail strike action in two decades.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out at 5pm on Monday 25 May, including signallers and maintenance staff, causing extensive disruption continuing into Tuesday as commuters go back to work after a day off.

Union leaders and bosses at Network Rail will meet for talks this week in a bid to avert major disruption for travellers hoping for a long-weekend break over the bank holiday. Union members will also ban overtime for 48 hours.

Union members rejected a four-year deal with a £500 ($784) payment this year and three years of increases matching inflation, as well as a no compulsory redundancy commitment to December 2016.

The RMT has said it has rejected the latest National Rail pay proposals as they fall "well short" of what is required for living standards and had also expressed safety concerns.

Which routes are affected by the strike action?

The train operating companies affected include Abellio Greater Anglia, Arriva Trains Wales, c2c, Caledonian Sleeper, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Eurostar, First Great Western, First Hull Trains, First TransPennine Express, Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Great Northern, Heathrow Connect, Heathrow Express, Island line, London Midland, London Overground, London Underground, Merseyrail, Northern Rail, ScotRail, South West Trains, Southeastern, Southern, Stansted Express, Thameslink, Virgin Trains and Virgin Trains East Coast.

Although talks may still lead to a resolution of the dispute, if the industrial action is to go ahead there is likely to be severe disruption to services on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 May, which will vary considerably by route.

If you already have a ticket to travel, you may be entitled to a refund depending on your train company. For more information on tickets, check the National Rail website.

How else can you get around the UK?

It may not be as glamorous as travelling by train, but you can still travel on Monday or Tuesday using inter-city bus companies. National Express offers travel around the UK from £6 – but make sure you leave plenty of time to get to your destination, as there may be heavy traffic if more people take to the roads.

Megabus and Scottish City Link also offer affordable transport. You can compare prices for bus travel using the website CheckMyBus to find the most affordable fares.

If travelling by car, it is advisable to check AA for traffic reports if strike action goes ahead, as the company has forecast busy motorways. For the latest travel information, you can also check @nationalrailenq.