Socialist Worker

Signal workers’ strike set to spread

by Des Mannay
Issue No. 2184

Striking workers in Newport last week (Pic: Seb Cooke)

Striking workers in Newport last week (Pic: Seb Cooke)

Signal workers in the RMT union in South Wales remain in fighting mood after their second six-day strike – despite picketing in the snow.

On the first day of the strike over 30 people attended a picket at the new signalling panel in Cardiff, including a delegation from the West Midlands.

The workers are angry at the imposition of new rosters, which are due to come into force when the new South Wales Control Centre opens later this year.

They are now carrying out an overtime ban while signaling staff in other areas are balloting to join the action.

Speaking at an RMT union meeting that night, general secretary Bob Crow said, “If Network Rail bring in managers from Scotland and the north of England to try and break our members’ resolve then maybe we’ll have to ballot our members in those parts of the country and challenge Network Rail nationally.”

The signal workers have taken Bob at his word. At an emergency branch meeting last week, Cardiff RMT passed a motion asking the union’s national executive to urgently consider making the regional dispute national by balloting all Network Rail signallers.

Bristol RMT passed a similar motion, and they will be considered by the general grades committee of the union at their meeting this week.

One signal worker said, “Signal workers around the country know that if they change rosters here they’ll do it elsewhere.”

A mass picket was called in Newport last Friday with around 50 attending – including RMT members from North Wales and members of local PCS and Unison union branches.

Steve Richards, Newport RMT branch secretary, told Socialist Worker, “I would like to pay tribute to signal workers across South Wales for standing firm in our fight against Network Rail’s intransigence.”

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Article information

Tue 12 Jan 2010, 18:09 GMT
Issue No. 2184
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