24-hour walkout to begin on Spring Bank Holiday Monday
The Rail, Maritime and Transports Workers Union (RMT) has confirmed that its members are to strike for 24 hours following a dispute with Network Rail over pay.
The union’s members will go on strike from 17.00 on Monday 25 May, and will also refuse to work overtime or extended shifts or undertake call-outs for a 48-hour period over 25 and 26 May. RMT has described the move as ‘the start of a rolling campaign of industrial action’.
Negotiations over a future pay package for nearly 16,000 RMT members employed by Network Rail have been ongoing, with the RMT balloting its members on the possibility of strike action.
NR had originally offered a 2% pay rise, which was rejected by the union. NR then made an alternative offer of no rise this year but with a bonus payment followed by rises for the next three years in line with retail price index (RPI) inflation.
Of the 60% of RMT members who voted, 80% were in favour of strike action. A no compulsory redundancy commitment extended to the end of 2016 was also in the proposed Network Rail deal rejected by the union. The union says it is ‘extremely concerned’ that this only applied to the first two years of the four-year deal.
RMT says NR’s proposals are ‘well short of what is required to maintain the living standards, the job security and the working conditions’ of its members.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash added: ‘Our rail staff deserve a fair reward for the high-pressure, safety-critical work that they undertake day and night and the last thing that we need is a demoralised, burnt-out workforce living in fear for their futures and the message has come back loud and clear that that is exactly how they feel about the current offer from Network Rail.’
Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said: ‘This strike is deliberately timed to cause maximum disruption to families trying to enjoy the half-term break and millions more returning to work after the bank holiday. I find it deplorable that the RMT can hold the travelling public to ransom in this way. This week we have been talking to ACAS to try to get the RMT back around the table.’
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented: ‘I condemn any industrial action that disrupts the travelling public. Network Rail has been entirely reasonable and put a fair offer on the table and has sought further talks with the unions.’