TSSA members’ ballot closes on Friday

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, TSSA,

Network RailRMT members working for Network Rail have today voted overwhelmingly for strike action over pay.

A ballot of TSSA members closes on Friday.

On a 60% turn-out, RMT members voted 80% for strike action and 92% for action short of strike action.

A union spokesperson said: “The vote comfortably outstrips even the rigged criteria proposed by the Tories in the next raft of anti-union laws expected in the Queen’s Speech. The mandate for action will now be considered by RMT’S executive which will decide on the next steps in taking the dispute forwards.”

 

Union members rejected the latest NR pay proposals as falling well short of what is required to maintain the living standards, the job security and the working conditions for nearly 16,000 staff across NR operations and maintenance.

After failed talks at ACAS, the union moved to the ballot.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have today decisively rejected the pay package offered by Network Rail. This is a massive mandate for action and shows the anger of safety-critical staff across the rail network at attacks on their standards of living and their job security. It is now down to NR to start taking this issue seriously, to understand the deep-seated grievance felt by their staff and to come forward with a renewed offer which protects pay and jobs.

“The union executive will now consider this overwhelming mandate for action and decide on our next steps aimed at securing pay and workplace justice.

“As far as we are concerned the one off, non-consolidated, lump-sum payment this year is wholly inadequate and fails to recognise the massive pressures staff are working under to keep services running at a time when the company is generating profits of £1 billion. It is our members battling to keep Britain moving around the clock and they deserve a fair share from Network Rail for their incredible efforts.

“In addition, we are extremely concerned that the “No Compulsory Redundancy” commitment only applies to the first two years of the four year deal.

“RMT is in no doubt that this leaves Operations and Maintenance members extremely vulnerable, especially with the continued development of Rail Operating Centres and the on-going cuts programme at Network Rail.

“Our rail staff deserve a fair reward for the high-pressure, safety-critical work that they undertake day and night and the last thing that we need is a demoralised, burnt-out workforce living in fear for their futures and the message has come back loud and clear that that is exactly how they feel about the current offer from Network Rail.

“RMT remains available for talks and we hope that the company will appreciate the anger amongst staff at the current offer on pay and conditions from Network Rail reflected in this ballot result and that they will agree to our call to come back to the table with an improved package.”

In a message to members, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “If you haven’t returned your completed ballot paper, post it today for piece of mind that your vote will be counted when the ballot closes on Friday.

“This ballot is incredibly important as it will decide whether your wages suffer a cut that can’t be recovered until after 2019, if at all.

“Our reps are asking you to support them by voting ‘Yes’ to both questions on the ballot paper. The reality is Network Rail is making a hefty profit and the top brass, including new Operations Director Phil Hufton, are getting paid more than ever before.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. That is why it is vitally important that  you vote – over to you!”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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