Rail workers to strike from work on July 27

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said Network Rail’s offer would mean a real terms pay cut for workers, and RMT members would have to agree to “drastic changes” in their working lives…reports Asian Lite News

Railway workers are to stage a one-day strike on 27 July as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMT union says.

It comes after thousands of train operator and Network Rail workers walked out during national strike action in June.

The strikes caused disruption for millions of commuters. Earlier this week, Network Rail made workers a fresh pay offer it said was worth more than 5%. But the offer depended on workers accepting “modernising reforms”.

RMT leaders rejected the new offer from Network Rail, describing it as “paltry”. The union also said it would consult other unions with mandates for strike action in the coming days.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said Network Rail’s offer would mean a real terms pay cut for workers, and RMT members would have to agree to “drastic changes” in their working lives.

“The train operating companies remain stubborn and are refusing to make any new offer which deals with job security and pay,” he added.

He said the dispute will continue “for as long as it takes, until we get a negotiated settlement”

But Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said the union announcement was “incredibly frustrating” – “even more so” given the union hadn’t put the latest pay offer to members.

Haines added that the strikes “have clearly been designed to disrupt spectators heading to the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on 28 July, an event of huge national significance”.

He added that Network Rail could only fund the increase in pay from its own budgets, and it would only have enough money to do that by “modernising” working practices.

“We urge the RMT to call this action off, get back round the table with us and show some willingness to compromise,” he added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the RMT was “hellbent on causing further misery for people across the country”.

“It’s clear now… that no deal was ever going to be good enough for the RMT,” he said, accusing the union of planning “how best to cause further chaos.”. He said the strike was “cynically timed” to disrupt the opening of the Commonwealth Games.

“The industry is already on life support and by insisting on working against its employers, instead of with them, the RMT risks pulling the plug for good,” he added.

The strike is expected to include 40,000 workers – roughly 20,000 from Network Rail, including signalling and track maintenance workers, and the remainder from 14 train operating companies, which now include workers from Govia Thameslink.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations with the train operating companies is that they have declined to make a pay offer until talks on conditions have finished.

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