National rail strike threat

Unite joins other unions in warning Network Rail over jobs, pay and conditions

Reading time: 3 min

The possibility of a national rail worker strike is growing following warnings from three trade unions over jobs, pay and conditions at Network Rail and train operators. 

Unite, RMT and TSSA have issued warnings over a lack of guarantees from Network Rail and train companies over pay rises, jobs security and the preservation of terms and conditions.

Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “Many Network Rail staff have gone without any pay increase for nearly two years. We are consulting with our reps in Network Rail and engaging Unite members via a consultative ballot on next moves. We stand ready to ballot our members for industrial action and cannot rule out a national strike. 

“Unite will be looking to coordinate any industrial action with sister unions and other workers taking action over the government’s cost-of living crisis. If you are a Unite member employed by Network Rail, look out for communications for dates to discuss the dispute.”

The RMT has announced it is balloting 40,000 members at Network Rail and 15 train operators for industrial action, with the results expected at the end of May. 

RMT 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. 

“Train operating companies have praised our members for being key workers during the pandemic but have refused to keep staff pay in line with inflation and soaring living costs. As a result, thousands of railway workers have seen their living standards plummet and have run out of patience.”

Meanwhile the TSSA is consulting its members because companies are not willing to provide assurances over jobs and pay rises.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “We’re consulting our reps across all companies on next moves. We stand ready to ballot our members for action and cannot rule out a nationwide rail strike. 

“If we ballot, we will be looking to co-ordinate our industrial action with sister unions and any other workers taking action against the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis.”

Related Articles