Two separate strikes set for Monday and Tuesday of this week involving members of the RMT transport union at Southeastern Trains were called off for different reasons.
The company used a minor legal technicality under the anti-union laws to launch a court challenge to the union’s ballot of 500 guards and drivers over the extension of driver-only trains, which would do away with guards.
The RMT has stated that the battle against driver-only operation on the company’s new Hitachi “Javelin” trains was not over. Union reps are set to meet this week to discuss the next move.
RMT members had voted by 72 percent majority for strike action.
Bob Crow, the RMT’s general secretary, said, “Southeastern Train’s lawyers have pounced on a minor legal technicality that made not one jot of difference to a ballot that returned a massive majority for strike action.
“The anti-union laws were designed to make it as difficult as possible for workers to strike and today the company has used those laws to frustrate the will of RMT guards and drivers who want to stop the extension of driver-only operation.”
“The company knows as well as we do that running to the judges will not make the safety issues at stake go away.”
Meanwhile, the RMT called off a separate strike by 750 retail and engineering staff after the company made a revised pay offer.
RMT reps were set to meet this week to discuss the details.
Strike at Arriva trains
Twenty nine driver-managers at Arriva Trains Wales took 24-hours of strike action on Thursday and Friday of last week almost leading to the collapse of train services in South Wales.
The TSSA rail workers’ union members were striking at management’s refusal to negotiate other deteriorating differential of the driver-managers’ pay.
They had already worked to rule for several weeks over the issue.
Arriva bosses were boasting only days before the action that there would be no impact on services.
What they could not understand was that their drivers in the RMT and Aslef unions would refuse to cross picket lines in solidarity.
They were also enthusiastic in their support of their own managers picketing their depots.
The action covered all of Wales but the solidarity from drivers was strongest in South Wales.
It is unclear if Arriva Trains Wales will offer to improve the pay.
If not it is expected that the action will be escalated.
Dave Barnes, TSSA executive (pc)
Northern Rail West vote for industrial action
Members of the Aslef train drivers’ union at Northern Rail West have voted by more than 90 percent for industrial action over a “severe breakdown in industrial relations” at the company.
Aslef’s executive committee has said that the first day of strike action should be 13 October.
There have been over 60 separate instances of failures to consult or of management breaking agreements.