A rail worker union in UK is planning for the biggest potential rail strike in modern history. The RMT union intends to ballot more than 40,000 workers over pay and jobs related dispute.

Strike against potential job cuts

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) is urging employees to vote for strike action. RMT is stating that Network Rail has planned to cut up to 2,500 jobs as part of a £2bn reduction in spending. Meanwhile, workers at train operators are facing pay freezes and changes to their terms and conditions. Moreover, RMT has claimed that the job cuts may result in higher percentage of accidents. The union further stated that the ballot opens on 26 April and closes on 24 May. Hence, the strike action could begin in June this year. It is RMT’s biggest ballot since its formation back in 1990.

Inflation factor

Like most of the countries across the globe, UK is also facing the challenge of soaring inflation. Employees working in different sectors are feeling the heat of these inflationary pressures. Inflation in UK hit 7% during last month and is expected to rise to 10% in coming weeks. The rise in commodity prices is forcing the employees to demand higher pays and better benefits from their employers. Therefore, the role of worker unions has increased significantly. Network Rail dispute is just one of many battles over pay across the UK as salary increases fail to keep up with a soaring rate of inflation.

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    Network Rail stance

    On the other hand, Network Rail show disappointment over the union’s decision. Moreover, they have urged the employees to work with them rather than working against them. “We cannot keep relying on government handouts, and so we must work together with train operators and our trade unions to save millions of pounds and deliver a more efficient railway.” Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s regional director said in a statement.

    RMT claimed the proposed job cuts will apply on workers who maintain tracks, signals and overhead lines among other things.

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