An overwhelming vote has been announced by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in the favour of industrial action after which, a wave of rail strikes has taken a crucial step closer in Britain. With more than 40,000 ballots of the railway workers, the slot was closed on Tuesday evening and 89% of the votes were in the favour of a strike with the emergence of 71%. The ballots were held across 15 train operating firms, the most important of which being Network Rail, whose signallers could bring the railway to a standstill if they go on strike. It was, according to the RMT, the largest approval of railway employees’ strike action since privatisation.

The union is unlikely to call the strikes straight away but will use the command to enhance the negotiation with the Network Rail and the train firms are looking forward to taking the edge off the effect of important rail network cost-cutting. Since the year 2020, the pay for most of the staff has been kept on hold and thus, the union has already warned that there is a high chance of 2,500 jobs being lost in the coming time, due to the efforts by the Network Rail to save more money by cost-cutting. The amount that they are planning to save is approximately more than £100m per year by reframing the work of maintenance.

rail strike

RMT stands for Rail, Maritime and Transport.

The industry executives have made their efforts and pleaded for more negotiations stating that the effect of the strikes would cost the business around £30m per day, while the revenues of the department are already much below the pre-pandemic levels and this would add the loss which might result in unmanageable repercussions. Andrew Haines, who is the chief executive of the Network Rail said that strikes would be harmful to the recovery of the railways and will severely affect the freight chains and crucial supply chains as the union had ‘jumped the gun’. The union is well aware that the staff and the workers are concerned about the security of their jobs and pay which is understandable. The railway union being a public body is working on providing an increment to the staff which is also affordable for the taxpayers of the country, Haines added. The network rail union is currently discussing the matter with the trade union.

rail strike

The largest approval of railway employees’ strike action since privatisation.

The industry has been supported by the taxpayer with an amount of £16bn, which was worthy of an additional life support system for the industry for almost two years but now they can’t continue. Many things have changed over time, including travel habits and there is a crucial need for the railways to change and adapt to the new reality.

The general secretary of the RMT, Mick Lynch has said that the affirmation by the workers of the railway network is a clearance of the approach of the union and gives out a clear message that it is high time to consider the need and want of the members for a decent pay rise and no compulsory prolixity.

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