Rail strike looms

19 Mar 2010 by BusinessTraveller

The prospect of a rail strike over the Easter period moved a step closer today, after signalling and supervisory staff at rail union RMT voted in favour of action.

The union said that 54 percent of staff voted in favour of strike action, with 77 percent voting in favour of “action short of a strike”. 

The RMT will now meet next Thursday (March 25), and says that action will be called if there is no resolution to the dispute over planned job cuts and changes to working conditions by Network Rail.

Although no strike dates have been announced, reports suggest action could take place over the Easter period, the weekend following the planned second wave of BA strikes. 

Today’s vote follows last week’s ballot in favour of strike action by the RMT’s maintenance staff. 

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“Once again in this ballot RMT members have shown that they back the unions campaign against Network Rail’s cuts programme and the assault on jobs and working conditions that even the Government’s own regulator, the ORR, has said will have severe safety implications out on the tracks.

“Nobody should be under any illusions about just how determined RMT members are to win our fight against Network Rail’s cuts programme and to stop this reckless gamble with rail safety. Over 150 MP’s have signed the Early Day Motion opposing Network Rail’s cuts plans and have urged the Government to intervene to call a halt to this jobs carnage on the tracks.

“Last week the transport minister Sadiq Khan said in the Commons that it would be “unwise to shed jobs” with the planned expansion of the railways that is underway and we are calling for him to ram that point home with Network Rail.

“RMT remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement with Network Rail based on protecting safety-critical jobs and safe working practices. With the combination of the strike mandates, political and public pressure the focus is now on the company to pull back from the brink and reverse their cuts programme.”

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