Around 12,000 maintenance workers in the RMT transport union at Network Rail are to escalate their strike action this week in their dispute over the harmonisation of pay and conditions.
The workers will strike for four days from Friday of this week after management refused to consider the RMT’s call for top-level discussions to resolve the long-running dispute.
RMT members have already struck solidly for two weekends in June and July.
Gordon Martin, secretary of the RMT’s Wishaw and Motherwell branch, told Socialist Worker, “The stepping up of the action to four days, including two weekdays, is going to hurt Network Rail.
“Management even sent a letter to Bob Crow, the RMT’s general secretary, condemning the action before they’d been officially notified of it.
“That shows how wary they are, and they know we can hurt them.
“We have also warned the main contractors, such as Jarvis and Balfour, that if they do any of our work we will be in dispute with them too.
“Virtually no maintenance work will be done over these four days.
“We need to make sure that people get out on the picket lines at all the depots. This is a fight we can’t afford to lose. Network Rail is already an aggressive employer. If it beats an organised trade union, just imagine what it will be like.
“The workers at the company want to provide a safe, well-maintained rail network for the travelling public, and they want to have decent pay and conditions for doing that.
“But the company wants to force us to work every weekend, do more night shifts, on less pay and with less people.
“If Network Rail doesn’t move after this strike then we will need to keep escalating the action.”