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Strikes over dangerous rail cuts

This article is over 11 years, 10 months old
A major battle is about to begin on the railways.
Issue 2193

A major battle is about to begin on the railways.

Network Rail staff have voted for strikes against management’s plans to cut 1,500 safety-critical jobs.

RMT union members who are maintenance workers voted by 77 percent for strikes and by 89 percent for action short of a strike. TSSA union members also backed strikes.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow told a PCS union strike rally last week, “Network Rail, a not for profit company, wants to take out 1,500 workers who do track inspections.


“We have had train disasters at Potters Bar, Grayrigg and Hatfield and I’m not having it again.

“We are safeguarding members and the public. I’m not saying how many days of action we’ll be taking, I’m not Mystic Meg. But don’t book any travel arrangements over Easter.

“If groups of workers are taking action they should coordinate and put our resources together.

“They’re throwing their lockers at us. We need to open our lockers and throw things back at them.”

Bosses are gearing up for a confrontation. They have prepared contingency plans to use managers and supervisors to break the strike.

Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s director of operations, said that he was not prepared to see the country “held to ransom” by the RMT.

Strike breaking

But he admitted that services would be severely hit whatever preparations the company made.

A Network Rail worker told Socialist Worker, “I voted for strike action. Network Rail have had over a year to sort this dispute out but have waited till now to put their final proposals on the table.”

The RMT and TSSA must call hard-hitting action to defend jobs and passengers’ safety.

And they will need solidarity from the wider trade union movement to win the fight.

The result of a separate ballot by signal workers in the RMT was due this week. Unions were meeting to discuss strike dates this Friday.

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