By Peter McLaren-Kennedy •
Updated: 25 Jul 2022 • 22:45
RMT Union strike - Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com
The strike announced on Monday, July 25 will see staff walk off the job at seven train operating companies including Avanti West Coast, c2c, East Midlands Railway, CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, LNER, and Southeastern.
The union said that this is the first strike they have called in more than a generation and will see g station staff, operational, maintenance, supervisory and management staff all taking part in the strike.
Limited action will also be taken on West Midlands Trains, Northern, Greater Anglia and TransPennine Express, however, no full strike has been called for these operators.
As with other rail strikes the issues are the same, demands for higherpay, and end to the closure of ticket offices and “widespread job cuts.”
TSSA have claimed that staff pay has been frozen for four years but that it disputed by the government, with the median pay of a railway worker increasing according to government statistics by around 25 per cent between 2011 and 2021, from £35,000 to £44,000.
By comparison salaries across the whole of the UK have risen by 23 per cent rising from £21,000 to £26,000.
Mike Lynch, General Secretary for the Union confirmed overnight and then again on Saturday, July 23 that the planned strike would go ahead saying that workers were “more determined than ever” to get their demands met.
That means some 14 rail companies will grind to a halt with more than 40,000 workers joining the walkout. To make matters worse the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has also announced a strike by its members at Avanti West Coast on the same day.
The drivers’ union Aslef will see their members out on strike on Saturday, July 30 which will eight train operators..
At the heart of the demands are a pay rise, job security and improved working conditions.
Lynch has claimed that Network Rail has not made any improvement on their original offer but has instead threatened workers with redundancy, a move that he said has made workers even more resolute in their demands.
Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s Chief Negotiator disagree saying that the RMT had: “Walked away from ongoing and constructive talks, making it abundantly clear that their political campaign is taking precedence over representing their members’ interests.
“A two-year, eight per cent deal with a no-compulsory-redundancy guarantee and other benefits and extras was on the table and they have walked away without giving their members a voice or a choice.
“Our door remains open to try and avert this pointless action that will cost strikers, dear. We will now consider how we will move forward with our reform plans despite the RMT obstinacy.”
Lynch, who is critical of the offer, added that: “The government need to stop their interference in this dispute so the rail employers can come to a negotiated settlement with us.”
Wednesday’s rail strike will see further disruption for passengers following a busy weekend that has seen the start of the summer holidays hit by chaos at the Port of Dover and elsewhere on planes and roads.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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