Around 12,000 maintenance workers at Network Rail struck for a second time last weekend in their fight for the harmonisation of pay and conditions across the company.
The RMT transport union members struck for 36 hours from 12 noon last Saturday after talks with Network Rail over the issues did not make sufficient progress for the union.
The workers had previously struck on the weekend of 14 and 15 June.
Because of privatisation, pay and conditions in Network Rail are a confusing mess.
Mick Cash, a senior RMT negotiator in the dispute, said, “It’s like mission impossible trying to harmonise so many different situations.
“Members are rightly angry at being messed about. They want to see some progress or there will be more action.”
National Rail management wants to hold down the pay of rail staff on the best rates – while others catch up. No one is going to put inflation on hold in the meantime.
Private companies made obscene fortunes out of the folly of rail privatisation.
There is no way that workers who opposed it all along should be made to pay to clear up the mess they have left behind.
Gordon Martin, the secretary of the RMT’s Wishaw and Motherwell branch, told Socialist Worker, “The strike went very well. All the reports that I have received describe the action as solid.
“A worker who has been on the railways for 33 years told me that he has never known morale to be so low. There is a lot of anger and people see the strike as a way to get their own back.
“There are more talks set for this week, but if we don’t get satisfactory progress the rank and file will certainly calling for further action.”
Unfortunately the Unite union, which organises some workers at Network Rail, criticised the strike.
But the strikers did receive solidarity from other trade unionists.
Jon Gamble, the secretary of Watford & District Trades Council, reports, “Delegates from the trades council joined striking maintenance workers on the picket line outside the Watford Network Rail depot last Saturday. The strike was very well supported as temperatures soared.
“Watford RMT branch has recruited 20 new members in the past month reported RMT branch secretary Stewart Cameron.”