TSSA plans to ballot 6,000 Network Rail staff for train strike action

Now TSSA plans to ballot SIX THOUSAND Network Rail staff to strike across UK’s ENTIRE railway system from July 25 – adding to ‘Summer of Discontent’ chaos

Thousands more UK railway workers will be balloted for strikes in escalating disputes over pay, conditions and job security which threaten imminent travel chaos.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) has served notice to ballot more than 6,000 staff at Network Rail (NR) amid fears over a ‘summer of discontent’.

Union bosses said the ballot of workers would be held between June 20 and July 11 – and, in the event of a yes vote, strike action could take place as early as July 25. 

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at NR and 13 train operators are to strike for three days next week. These similar disputes will cause huge disruption to services on June 21, 23 and 25 and possibly the days in between.

The RMT and Unite union are also striking on London Underground on June 21, the same day as the first national rail strike, in a separate row over jobs and pay.

Commuters queue for buses outside London Victoria station during the Tube strike on June 6

London Waterloo Underground station is closed during the RMT Underground strike on June 6

The TSSA has previously announced strike ballots among its members at four rail firms – Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, East Midlands and West Midlands Trains.

And members of the drivers union Aslef are also striking later this month at Hull Trains, Greater Anglia and Croydon Tramlink.

Planned rail strikes in ‘summer of discontent’ 

  • June 21: RMT and Unite strike on London Underground
  • June 21, 23 and 25: RMT strike on National Rail and 13 train operators
  • June 26: Aslef strike on Hull trains
  • June 28-29 and July 13-14: Aslef strike on Croydon Tramlink, London
  • From July 25: When Network Rail strike action could take place if TSSA members vote for it in ballot

TSSA members at NR work in operational, control, management and safety critical roles on rail services across Britain.

The union is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for 2022, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living.

The TSSA said NR staff last had a pay rise between two and three years ago – it varies between grades – and also worked throughout the pandemic as key workers.

Members are being asked to cast two votes: one on strike action and another on action short of a strike.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘We could be seeing a summer of discontent across our railways if Network Rail don’t see sense and come to the table to face the concerns of their staff.

‘Network Rail staff are asking for basic fair treatment – not to be sacked from their jobs, a fair pay rise in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and no race to the bottom on terms and conditions.

‘Fat cat bosses have so far refused these completely reasonable requests, leaving us with no option other than to ballot for industrial action, something which is always a last resort.

Transport Salaried Staffs Association general secretary Manuel Cortes (pictured in Liverpool in 2014) said today that Britain ‘could be seeing a summer of discontent across our railways’

TSSA members at Network Rail work in operational, control, management and safety critical roles on rail services across Britain (file picture of workers on track near Cambridge in 2010) 

‘It’s frankly ridiculous that we’re being forced to ballot. Network Rail only responded to our requests for pay talks – made before Christmas – when we moved the issue to dispute in April and have dragged their heels at every stage.

‘Our members have had enough. We are preparing for all options, including co-ordinated strike action.’

A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘Now is not for time for the TSSA to be jumping on the RMT ‘strike bandwagon’.

‘Positive pay talks were in full swing with a ‘no-strings’ pay offer of 2.5 per cent on the table, with the potential for more if connected to productivity and efficiency gains, so this news is both premature and deeply disappointing.’

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