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Author Topic: Rail Strike Looming  (Read 7363 times)
ChrisB
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2022, 06:29:33 pm »

In today's Guardian

Quote
Union threatens ‘biggest rail strike in modern UK (United Kingdom) history’

RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) to ballot more than 40,000 workers at Network Rail and train firms in dispute over jobs and pay

More than 40,000 railway workers are to be balloted in a dispute over jobs and pay that a union says could result in Britain’s biggest rail strike in modern history.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said staff would be asked to vote on strike action over Network Rail’s plans to cut at least 2,500 maintenance jobs as part of a £2bn reduction in spending on the network.

Meanwhile, workers at train operators have been subject to pay freezes and changes to their terms and conditions.

The RMT said it was the biggest ballot it has undertaken of its members for a single dispute since the union was formed in 1990. The ballot opens on 26 April and closes on 24 May, so strike action could begin in June.

The dispute is just one of many battles over pay being fought across the UK as salary increases fail to keep up with a soaring rate of inflation that hit 7% last month and is forecast to rise to 10%.

The Communication Workers Union announced on Wednesday that Post Office workers were to stage a one-day strike on 3 May. The CWU» (Communication Workers Union - website) said the action was in response to a pay freeze for 2021 and the offer of a 2% increase from April this year alongside a £250 one-off lump sum, which officials described as “exceptionally poor”.

The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “Railway workers have had to contend with pay freezes, the prospect of losing their jobs and repeated attacks on their terms and conditions.

“Removing 2,500 safety-critical jobs from Network Rail will spell disaster for the public, make accidents more likely and will increase the possibility of trains flying off the tracks.

He added that “thousands of railway workers” had seen their living standards “plummet” and had “run out of patience”.

The ballot will be among RMT members on Network Rail and the train operators Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia, LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about), East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, South Western Railway, Island Line, GTR (including Gatwick Express), TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast, and West Midlands Trains.

Network Rail was “disappointed” that the RMT had taken the decision to ballot for strike, its regional director Tim Shoveller said.

He said the pandemic had hit the railway hard adding: “We know travel habits and passenger demand have changed and the industry has to change, too. We cannot keep relying on government handouts, and so we must work together with train operators and our trades unions to save millions of pounds and deliver a more efficient railway.”

The Post Office strike will involve counter staff, as well as those in clerical, administration and call centres. So-called crown post offices will be affected as will smaller sub-post offices.

A Post Office spokesperson said: “We want to assure our customers that the vast majority of our 11,500 branches are unaffected by this decision and will remain open throughout the day.”

Meanwhile, at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), UK workers have voted for industrial action for the first time in the pharmaceutical firm’s history. The workers, members of the union Unite, voted 86% in favour of strike action.

Unite said GSK, which produces products such as Sensodyne and Panadol as well as medications for combating critical illnesses, has a 48-hour window to make a “much-improved offer” or strike action will be announced.

Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Never before have our members at GSK voted for strike action – their anger is a clear response to the company’s colossal corporate greed.”

GSK made a profit of £8.8bn last year.

A spokesperson for GSK said: “We recognise the impact inflation rates are having on people around the country and are strongly committed to supporting the skilled people who work in GSK manufacturing.

“We have offered a 4% increase to base salary, in addition to a one-off award – equivalent to around 2% of base salary – as well as an annual bonus for 2021 which paid out above-target.

“We are disappointed that the Unite union has taken the decision to strike, but remain committed to working with them to find a solution.”
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JayMac
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2022, 09:03:14 pm »

Ballot result is in.

RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) members have voted in favour of strike action across all TOCs (Train Operating Company) and at Network Rail. Very strong mandate. 89% in favour with a 71% mandate.

https://twitter.com/RMTunion/status/1529186089461764097
« Last Edit: May 24, 2022, 09:11:38 pm by bignosemac » Logged

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broadgage
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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2022, 09:25:25 pm »

I am shocked by the scale of support for a strike.
A NARROW majority in favour of a strike would not have surprised me, but an 89%/11% majority in favour of a strike shocks me.

And with a generous turnout, the result is genuinely representative.

Does anyone know if the railway freight operators will be striking ? or only the passenger TOCs (Train Operating Company)?
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2022, 09:30:38 pm »

While I have every sympathy with having a below inflation rate pay rise especially when inflation is running at 9%+, I can't help thinking that this is a massive mistake especially when the industry has lost 25% of it's income.

And where do the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers)/rail staff think the money is going to come from for a pay rise given that there are only 3 sources of income:
1) Government - good luck with that; you might find NHS staff, teachers, police, etc. in the queue for a pay rise, as well, and with more public sympathy.
2) Fare payers - fares are already too expensive and you won't be thanked.
3) Productivity - you might get a pay rise but some of your colleagues will lose there jobs.

I also think that this is a trap set by the Government to break the power of the unions on the railway, which you have just walked into. It reminds me so much of the miners in the 1980's and that didn't turn out well.


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JayMac
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« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2022, 09:31:34 pm »

RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) press release:

Quote
Railway workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action across Network Rail and the train operating companies, in the biggest endorsement for industrial action by railway workers since privatisation.

71% of those balloted took part in the vote with 89% voting in favour of strike action and only 11% voting against.

The union will now be demanding urgent talks with Network Rail and the 15 train operating companies that were balloted to find a negotiated settlement to the dispute over pay, jobs and safety.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch: "Today's overwhelming endorsement by railway workers is a vindication of the union's approach and sends a clear message that members want a decent pay rise, job security and no compulsory redundancies.

"Our NEC» (National Exhibition Centre - about) will now meet to discuss a timetable for strike action from mid-June, but we sincerely hope ministers will encourage the employers to return to the negotiating table and hammer out a reasonable settlement with the RMT."

END

Notes:

RMT balloted over 40,000 members in Network Rail and the train operating companies

The following companies have voted for strike action and action short of strike:

Network Rail

Chiltern Railways,
Cross Country Trains,
Greater Anglia,
LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about),
East Midlands Railway,
c2c,
Great Western Railway,
Northern Trains,
South Eastern
South Western Railway
Transpennine Express,
Avanti West Coast,
West Midlands Trains

The following company voted for action short of strike:

GTR (including Gatwick Express)
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ray951
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« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2022, 09:33:10 pm »

I am shocked by the scale of support for a strike.
A NARROW majority in favour of a strike would not have surprised me, but an 89%/11% majority in favour of a strike shocks me.

And with a generous turnout, the result is genuinely representative.

Does anyone know if the railway freight operators will be striking ? or only the passenger TOCs (Train Operating Company)?
I don't think the freight operators are included but if Network Rail , especially signallers, are on strike you probably cant run trains anyway.
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JayMac
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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2022, 09:40:36 pm »

I feel that this is the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) trying to flex its muscles to show HMG they mean business. No longer are they in dispute with private companies. The TOCs (Train Operating Company) are just puppets of the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) now in the period before we move to Great British Railways.

I don't think the RMT will succeed in its aims. There's simply no money for pay rises to match inflation. Anything too generous will also only fuel inflation. The most likely course of action from HMG will be to ride out the strike. And I hope they do take that course.

For the record. Island Line voted against industrial action. So, the comprehensive rail network on the Isle of Wight should stay running. Tongue
« Last Edit: May 24, 2022, 09:47:31 pm by bignosemac » Logged

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ChrisB
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« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2022, 11:07:29 pm »

I suspect the signallers on the Island Line are RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) & they voted to strike
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JayMac
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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2022, 11:39:59 pm »

I suspect the signallers on the Island Line are RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) & they voted to strike

The signallers work for Island Line. Well, thier actual employer is SWR» (South Western Railway - about).

It would appear that employees at Island Line still have seperate union voting even though Island Line is no longer a seperate legal entity. These days it's just an SWR brand.


« Last Edit: May 24, 2022, 11:53:21 pm by bignosemac » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2022, 04:56:17 am »

If the strike is long continued, and well supported, I would be slightly concerned about shortages of fuel for power stations.

Only a very small proportion of UK (United Kingdom) electricity now comes from coal, often zero at this time of year. Some coal will almost certainly be needed next winter and it is delivered almost entirely by rail.

Slightly more significant is wood chips, several percent of UK electricity is from this fuel, almost all delivered by rail. Only limited stocks are kept as the fuel is bulky and perishable.

Natural gas and renewably generated electricity would be unaffected by a rail strike. Some natural gas fired power stations can burn light oil in an emergency, this is generally delivered by road.

Nuclear power stations would be unaffected in the short term, but new and depleted nuclear fuel is almost entirely moved by rail.

A few posts back, a respected member states that rail freight is not expected to be DIRECTLY affected by this strike, but that strike action by signalers could seriously disrupt freight.

Another concern would be supplies of petrol, diesel fuel, LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), and heating oil. Final delivery is generally by road but bulk or long distance transport is often by rail. Large consumers of liquid fuel, such as airports, are often served by pipelines.

I expect an increase in strike action affecting road transport, and oil pipelines. "Sympathetic strike action" is now prohibited, but I expect an increase in completely independent disputes that happen to disrupt  road transport, pipeline operations, and electricity generation.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2022, 06:49:59 am »

The driver behind all this is No 10, the political pressures on the Exec Teams of the enormous, I get the sense that the Exec do not have the freedom to negotiate with the Unions without refereeing back to No 10.

There is a lot of unrest at grassroots level and management level, it is highly likely that during any industrial action managers may just work their contracted hours whether in a Union or not
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« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2022, 06:50:23 am »

Maybe somebody forgot that the party in power is the one that took on the National Union of Miners, and look where the mining industry is now. Beeching could be small beer.

Supposedly part of the government's thoughts on getting the economy going is, more road projects.
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« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2022, 07:32:22 am »

The driver behind all this is No 10, the political pressures on the Exec Teams of the enormous, I get the sense that the Exec do not have the freedom to negotiate with the Unions without refereeing back to No 10.

There is a lot of unrest at grassroots level and management level, it is highly likely that during any industrial action managers may just work their contracted hours whether in a Union or not

Managers who know which side their bread is buttered may well step up. Particularly as they are the grade that could see redundancies first. They may want to prove their worth while the troops are blindly led into battle by Mick Lynch.

Much as I can't stand this government I do think they are up for the fight. I don't think this is a battle the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) will win.
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« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2022, 07:42:09 am »

Much as I can't stand this government I do think they are up for the fight. I don't think this is a battle the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers) will win.

I really fear that the customers of the rail industry will lose.  What an archaic way to sort out your differences!
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« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2022, 08:03:16 am »

An union leader was on the Beeb this morning saying that one reason for the strike action was to protect jobs. Seems a funny way of going about it.
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