RMT warns Network Rail of Scotland-wide industrial action if company refuses to settle grading dispute
The RMT is warning Network Rail of possible Scotland-wide industrial action if it refuses to settle a drawn-out dispute over placement of staff at one of the largest signal boxes in the UK.
It comes as more than 30 members at the West of Scotland Signalling Centre in Glasgow staged the first of two days of industrial action planned over the next fortnight.
The union says Network Rail’s local management have refused to apply a 40 year-old arrangement which allows a trained and experienced signal operator to be slotted into a resident post when it becomes vacant.
The resident position provides for more regular work patterns and predictable shifts at the signalling centre, which opened in 2008 and which the company describes as the most advanced of its kind in Scotland.
RMT regional organiser Ian Macintyre (pictured) told UnionNews: “What they want to do is pick and choose – a kind of ‘blue-eyed boy’ syndrome.
“What we are saying to them is: the only way of doing this is what we’ve been doing all these years, by seniority.
“We’ve made every endeavour to get out of this impasse with the company: we’ve been to ACAS on two occasions, we’ve tried relentlessly over four days to get an agreed form of words from the company and they don’t seem to be budging.”
Network Rail claims the action had no major effect of train services. However, RMT says the company’s own documents show there was substantial disruption and numerous changes to services.
Says Ian Macintyre: “We apologise to passengers and commuters, but once they realise what the dispute’s about, they’ll realise the fault is with management.”
Members at the Glasgow centre have already taken 72 hours of strike action over Christmas.
UnionNews understands that RMT senior officials will consider a report on yesterday’s talks at ACAS and are likely to propose escalating industrial action to involve other signal centres and staff across Scotland.
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