Socialist Worker

Signal workers dispute

Issue No. 2010

Signal workers in the RMT union at Network Rail were set to strike on Friday of this week. A strike would severely hit Britain’s rail network.

The RMT members are fighting for better pay. The strike was set to begin at 12 noon on Friday and run through to Saturday at 11.59am.

A two day strike is also set for next week beginning on Thursday at 12 noon.

Workers voted for action in June, but this was called off after management made a new offer. This two year deal was narrowly rejected by members in a referendum.

Network Rail has refused to implement a one year deal.

A signal worker told Socialist Worker, “Many signal workers were on £4 an hour until our strike back in 1994. This won us a substantial pay rise. But we are now in a worse position.

“We are facing a double squeeze as we have had measly pay rises and also we have seen our pensions contributions rise. Pensions are deferred wages.

“People rejected the new deal for two main reasons. One was that the company was trying to raise the 35 hour week again - which we were promised in 2001. We should be on the 35 hour week now.

“The other main reason is that other workers employed by Network Rail got a one year deal.

“But management are insisting that we should be on a two year deal.

“People are angry that we are being treated differently.”

A signal worker in the Sheffield area told Socialist Worker, “Network Rail are bandying round the figure of £2,500 as the pay rise on offer. People are saying if that’s the company’s attempt at counting then it’s no wonder that the company’s messed up.

“The rise for most signal workers round here will be nothing like that. The figures just don’t add up.”

Public Meeting Don’t Sell the East London Line! Speakers: Bob Crow (RMT), Louise Christian, Wednesday 26 July, 7.30pm, Hospitality Room, Hackney Empire, Hackney

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Sat 22 Jul 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2010
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