THE RMT rail union has called a strike ballot for its 7,000 members in Network Rail in a dispute over pay and pensions. The vote will include signalling, maintenance and station staff. 'The company has imposed a pension scheme for new entrants that is no better than a glorified savings plan subject to the whims of the market,' says RMT general secretary Bob Crow. 'In addition their pay offer of 3 percent is the lowest in the rail industry. This is a company whose directors have handed themselves bonuses of up to £450,000 on top of telephone-number salaries. Those same directors are looking at another fat bonus if they keep our members' pay down.'
If a strike takes place it would be the largest action in the rail industry for a decade. The TSSA rail union is also considering a ballot for its 4,000 members in Network Rail. Every activist should be pressing for the biggest possible strike vote.
RMT RAIL union members at rail maintenance company Jarvis voted for strikes last week and won concessions from their bosses. Jarvis workers are to be transferred to Network Rail on 1 April. The strike ballot was called after the repeated failure by Network Rail to provide an assurance that there would be no compulsory redundancies or worsening of conditions.
However, after the ballot result was announced management gave undertakings on these issues which are acceptable to the union.
Virgin Rail catering crew based in Manchester struck again on Thursday of last week against the imposition of new rosters. It is the latest in a series of one-day strikes