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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 May 2015

Support the National Rail walkout over pay and jobs

Striking Newport RMT signals workers, photo Socialist Party Wales

Striking Newport RMT signals workers, photo Socialist Party Wales   (Click to enlarge)

Bob Severn

Network Rail workers in the RMT and TSSA transport unions are set to take the first national train network strike in two decades for 24 hours from 5pm on Monday 25 May.

Union members will also refuse to do overtime on 25 and 26 May.

In the dispute over pay and job security, RMT members voted by 80% for strike action on a 60% turnout, a result that would even pass the Tories' proposed new anti-union strike balloting laws. TSSA members have voted by 53% for strike action on a 52% turnout.

A signal maintenance engineer in the RMT told the Socialist: "Twice now they've given us a 'final offer' - that was the end of their negotiations. So we had to get the 'yes' vote just to get Network Rail back to the table.

"The unconsolidated 500 for this year - which really is 300 in your bank account - doesn't increase your pension. For the following years it's only fixed to the RPI measure of inflation. It's a four year deal but only a two-year non-compulsory redundancy agreement.

"Network Rail has said we've had good deals over the years. Well we've fought for those deals - they weren't offered to us, they're not that benevolent!

"Why should we take a step backwards because everyone else is taking a hit? We feel that we should be leading the way, not accepting austerity."

Legal challenge

Network Rail has threatened a legal challenge to the TSSA ballot result at the same time as Acas negotiations.

In response, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "It is highly damaging that instead of focusing on the talks process Network Rail have opted instead to threaten a dash to the courts to challenge the democratic decision of rail worker members of one of our sister unions.

"RMT will not allow this legal manoeuvring to cloud the real issues in this dispute over jobs, safety and pay justice."

National Rail made 1.2 billion profits last year.

Update 21.05.15: The strike has been suspended by both TSSA and RMT following a new offer from Network Rail

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In The Socialist 20 May 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cut rents not benefits

Fight back at the Tory war on youth

Stop the "elites fortifying their power"

Build a movement to defeat the government's savagery

Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

Fight Tories' new 'anti-extremism' law

State and big business spied on activists

Ukip provocateur unmasked

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Support the National Rail walkout over pay and jobs

FBU debates how to combat Tory onslaught

All-out pay strike forces Labour council back to table

ITV production staff

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

US: Bernie Sanders calls for 'political revolution'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Election aftermath: anti-Tory austerity protests

Cheapskate council screws up election ballot!

Build up resources to fight the Tories

Management thrashed in academies debate

Campaign news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Russell Brand's 'The Emperor's New Clothes'

Save our 'life saver' libraries!

Tories rig exams to favour rich students


 

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