The unions have decided to unite and fight the desperate proposals by the ministers to force the staff to work to reduce the rail strike as should it be called. The ballots are on the industrial action across the rail of network and the closing of 15 English operators, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary has mentioned that there is a possibility that the government would implement ‘minimum service levels’ which will effectively reduce the right for the staff to strike.
According to the national union of rail, transport and Maritime workers, such kind of moves would attract a fierce resistance by the workers. After the government told the railway industry to find huge savings after a drop in revenue caused by the Covid pandemic, more than 40,000 RMT members are voting on whether to strike. Expected cuts include the loss of thousands of maintenance jobs at Network Rail, pay freezes, and the closure of station ticket offices, for which the results are awaited on Wednesday morning.
The unions have decided to unite and fight the desperate proposals by the ministers to force the staff to work to reduce the rail strike.
Ministers are exploring legislation to fulfil a Conservative manifesto vow to keep services running during transport strikes, according to Shapps. He explained that the officials have a pledge in there about minimum service levels. Minimum service levels would be a way to work toward protecting those freight lines and other things if they actually got to that point. Shapps was denying basic rights, according to unions. “Any attempt by Grant Shapps to make effective strike action on the railways unlawful would be faced with the greatest resistance from RMT and the wider trade union movement,” warned Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), which may organise a national rail strike ballot if compulsory redundancies are announced, called it “desperate drivel from the Tories, who have decided to attack working people who kept the rails operating every single day of the pandemic,” according to the TSSA. “Our union will oppose their unjust and undemocratic policies every step of the way,” said Manuel Cortes, the organization’s general secretary. The rail industry is preparing for a countrywide strike by prioritising freight train operations to keep goods moving and shelves supplied.
The Department of Transport has stated that industrial action would cause irreparable damage to the railways.
Rail companies claim the strike ballot is premature because most salary negotiations have yet to take place, but unions anticipate drastic cuts will be implemented. When Covid pushed passengers away, the sector required almost £15 billion in more investment, and the government has made it clear to train executives that the subsidy must be reduced. Unions have urged the government to take action against rolling stock businesses, which were assured a steady stream of revenue from taxpayers and gave out large profits to stockholders during the pandemic.
The Department of Transport has stated that industrial action would cause “irreparable damage to our railways,” with many former commuters no longer required to travel daily to work.
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said rail companies were “acutely aware of cost-of-living pressures” on employees, but added, “Our entire focus now should be securing a thriving future for rail that adapts to new travel patterns and takes no more than its fair share from taxpayers, rather than staging premature industrial action that would disrupt passengers’ lives and jeopardise the industry’s recovery.”