Socialist Worker

Thousands join solid Network Rail action to derail bosses’ plans

Issue No. 2106

Over 12,000 Network Rail maintenance workers in the RMT union struck from 12 noon last Saturday to 5.59pm last Sunday in a dispute over harmonisation of terms and conditions.

The dispute follows months of talks aimed at achieving a single set of terms and conditions for maintenance staff, many of whom transferred into Network Rail from the private sector.

Gordon Martin, the secretary of the RMT’s Wishaw and Motherwell branch, told Socialist Worker, “In the West of Scotland the strike has been absolutely solid, and I’ve heard reports of similar strength from all around Britain.

“Management’s agenda has been to push for cuts in the maintenance budget and manpower, which will lead to cuts in safety. It also wants workers to be ‘superflexible’ – working every weekend, at management’s beck and call.

“It wants to take over our lives. The way we are being treated under a ‘nationalised’ Network Rail is even worse than under the private companies. We had to make a stand now, otherwise Network Rail would have started to impose their plans area by area.

“The strike has had a massive impact with dozens of jobs cancelled. The union will now be deciding what action we need next to win.

“It was good to be on strike at the same time as the Shell tanker drivers – and I wish them the best of luck.”

While Network Rail says it can’t afford to meet the union’s demands, its chief executive Iain Coucher is set to receive a bonus of £305,000 for last year – on top of his £539,000 annual salary and a payment of around £200,000 under Network Rail’s long-term incentive plan.

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Article information

Tue 17 Jun 2008, 18:38 BST
Issue No. 2106
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