Rail strikes looming?

The railways trade union RMT has just confirmed that a ballot for national industrial action involving Network Rail operations staff across the country will begin next Thursday – 4th March.

According to the union, the ballot, which will involve all signalling and supervisory members, centres on three issues of dispute with Network Rail:

– plans for operational staff to take over responsibilities in relation to safety arrangements previously undertaken by maintenance staff.
– alleged breach of national agreements through the imposition of rosters at certain locations
– alleged failure to adhere to the agreed Promotion, Transfer, Redundancy and Resettlement (PTR&R) arrangements.

An RMT ballot for national industrial action involving 13,000 Network Rail maintenance staff began yesterday – 25 February.

A high-profile and highly-disruptive national rail strike would be bad news for the Government at the very time when ministers are travelling the country with the media in tow, trying to convince sceptical voters that they are the best choice. Bob Crow may be banking on Network Rail being encouraged back to the negotiating table by the Government, who are its majority shareholder. It remains to be seen how much sympathy there will be for strikes over rosters when millions have no jobs at all.

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