Latest Rail News

03.07.15

RMT launches fresh wave of strikes across Britain

Rail users across the country are to be hit by fresh industrial action as RMT announces a wave of strikes on different services.

The union confirmed today that engineers working for Southern Rail are to walk out for five days from 5pm on 12 July, over a “comprehensive breakdown” in industrial relations.

Some 1,500 Northern Rail members have also voted to strike over the introduction of zero hour jobs and cuts to roles and responsibilities, but no action has yet been announced.

RMT members working for First Great Western voted to strike after failing to reach assurances over jobs, which they fear are under threat from the introduction of new Hitachi InterCity Express Programme ‘Super Express’ Class 800/1 trains from 2017. They will walk out at 6.30pm on 8 July.

The union is also due to join Aslef in a 24-hour strike on London Underground, protesting the introduction of the Night Tube and a lack of a pay deal for staff. The action is scheduled to take place from 9.30pm on 8 July.

RMT says it has strong mandates for all the strike votes. Union figures show Southern members voted nine to one in favour of action, 80% of Northern and First Great Western members voted to walk out and over 90% of London Underground workers are in favour of a strike.

Union general secretary Mick Cash said about the Southern dispute: “In all of this, management have failed to show our members the respect they deserve as skilled and dedicated workers. We have made every effort to talk to the company about these issues, but have got nowhere. The only option we have is to use industrial action.”

In a statement, Southern Rail said: "We are disappointed that the RMT has decided to take this action at this time in the franchise, especially as we have been having meaningful talks with the union throughout this process about the issues raised."

Cash said that at Northern the union had made “every effort” to win assurances over jobs, services and safety but the company “continues to ride roughsod over our efforts”.

He added that on London Underground the RMT will coordinate with the other unions, including Aslef and the TSSA, who plan to strike.

“It is simply outrageous that management, in a mad dash to bulldoze through the night running stunt, have smashed apart long-term agreements and have resorted to trying to bully staff into accepting roster changes at a local level and the message from RMT and our sister unions is clear – we are not having it,” he added.

Addressing the unions issues with First Great Western, Cash said that every effort had been made to secure some very basic assurances but that the company has simply ignore them.

“We therefore had no option but to ballot all staff for action to force the company to take this issue seriously and the members have now voted decisively for action.”

A First Great Western spokesman said: "41% of RMT members who work for First Great Western have voted in favour of this action and we are disappointed that our assurances over job security; the need for more, not fewer staff; and maintaining existing pay and conditions for those staff have not been heard.

"All of the issues raised by the RMT have been discussed with representatives and we believe we have made some progress. We are keen to talk further with the RMT to avoid our passengers and colleagues being impacted by strike action and we are seeking an early meeting with RMT."

(Picture by: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Paul   03/07/2015 at 12:44

Am I the only one finding the irony (not to mention the mathematical inconsistency) in this article. Mick Cash "......the members have now voted decisively for action" followed immediately by "41% of RMT members .....have voted in favour of this action". Surely this means 59% either voted against action or didn't vote - ie. a vote decisively against action!

Nigel   03/07/2015 at 12:57

Yes it's almost as silly as the government claiming they have a solid mandate for idiot policies when they only got 36.9% of the votes cast and 24% of the electorate.

Nige   03/07/2015 at 14:10

That is the democratic process. If people do not vote it can only be assumed they don't care what decisions are made on their behalf by Government or Union. So you'll need to add the difference between 100% and those who voted NO to have the real majority.

Lutz   04/07/2015 at 14:16

Roll-on fully automated train operation; it's coming, your days are numbered.

Kevin   10/07/2015 at 13:05

Unions - the cancer of Industrial Britain for far too long. Time this shackle was removed - before it does to the rail industry what it did to the car manufacturing industry.

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