Workers in the RMT and TSSA rail unions were discussing the next stage of their pensions campaign this week after a ballot result, due as Socialist Worker went to press.
The rail unions have been demanding that the employers commit to ensuring that the Railway Pensions Scheme remains open to all employees, cap employee contributions to a reasonable level, maintain benefits and streamline the 100 sections created by the fragmentation of the railways under privatisation.
Because of the ballot management have offered a commission with an independent chairperson and one representative from the employers and unions, to resolve the issues and ensure the long term financial health of the scheme.
Around 250 RMT union members at rail infrastructure firm Grantrail struck for 24 hours from a minute after midday last Saturday after the company failed to honour a pledge to recognise the union, despite it representing a majority of the workforce.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said, “It is time for Grantrail to do the honourable thing and recognise the union that the majority of its workforce have chosen to represent them.
“Only 19 people voted against taking strike action.
“It should be clear to the company by now that its workforce is serious about being represented by a union with more than a century’s experience in the rail infrastructure industry.”
South West Trains
Train drivers working for South West Trains based at London’s Waterloo station struck for 24 hours on Thursday of last week.
The strike affected some of Britain’s busiest train routes. Some 200 of the 1,200 train drivers based at the station were involved in the action.
The strike resulted from a dispute over the right of workers to take a taxi home after a shift ending in the early morning or late at night.
The workers, who are members of the RMT and Aslef unions, plan further strike action on Tuesday and Thursday next week.