Britain is on verge of having a travel chaos as the railway workers have voted for a nationwide strike. The members of RMT union have voted for strike over disputes related to jobs and pay.
40,000 workers could go on strike
More than 40,000 workers at infrastructure operator Network Rail have votes in favor of the strike through balloting. Moreover, the RMT union has termed it as the “the biggest endorsement of industrial action since privatization”. More than 70% of the union workers voted in favor of the strike. Furthermore, RMT stated that 90% of the workers are backing them. Hence, they could walkout by the middle of next month. This is a real concern for Network Rail and 15 train operating companies.
Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary stated that the vote was a vindication of union’s stance. Moreover, executive council will now meet to discuss the timeframe for strike action. Although, workers of Network Rail have not taken part in a national strike since 1994. Therefore, union will also pursue talks with Network Rail and the operating companies to get a settlement through deliberations.
RMT union is fighting for better wages
The dispute started when Network Rail decided to cut 2,500 jobs. The company was intending to save £2 billion over the next couple of years. Moreover, RMT also claimed that staff at train operating companies faced pay freezes, threats of job loss and a poor working terms and conditions. Currently, RMT wants a guarantee that there will be no forced terminations. Alongside, they are also demanding a new pay structure for employees amid high inflation and crunch economic conditions. In addition, the RMT union is also urging the government to intervene and encourage the employers to get back on tables.
Network Rail’s stance
On the other hand, Network Rail has denied any reports of target job cuts. The company claimed that they had not tabled and formal proposal of cost cutting. Although, they have confirmed that there are certain informal proposals which are under discussion. “The RMT has jumped the gun. Travel habits have changed forever and the railway has to change as well. Any industrial action now would be disastrous.” Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive expressed his views. Moreover, Network Rail claims that strike action will cost the industry about £30 million per day.
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