Rail Strikes Announced Across South And North

Rail Strikes Announced Across South And North

Two rail strikes spanning huge swathes of the south & the north of England have been announced by the RMT union.

The separate disputes involving Northern Rail & Southern Rail staff are the latest in a series of rail-related strike threats.

Engineers on Southern Rail plan to strike for five days from 12 July, claiming there has been a "comprehensive breakdown" in relations with bosses.

And workers on Northern Rail have voted to walk out over job security & safety issues.

RMT said 1,500 members were involved in the vote amid anger over what it said was the removal of permanent posts & the creation of zero-hour jobs via a contract with a security company, cuts to booking offices & attacks on the role & responsibility of train guards.

The union said Northern Rail had moreover given no commitment that there will be no compulsory redundancies beyond the end of its current franchise in February next year.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash accused the company of riding "roughshod" over its efforts to negotiate.

"We therefore had no option yet to ballot all staff for action to force the company to take these issues seriously & the members have now voted decisively for action.

"That mandate will now be considered by the union."

Northern Rail – a 50:50 joint venture between Serco Group and Abellio – employs 4,900 workers & runs 2,500 services every weekday.

RMT warned that the planned strike by engineers on Southern Rail would hit services.

The walkout is slated to start from 5pm on 12 July.

The move follows a 9-1 vote for strikes among union members at Southern, which operates commuter & other services between London & the Sussex coast.

The union said the row was related to productivity measures planned by the company which were not going to result in a cut to the engineers' 35-hour working week,

Over the past few weeks, a strike by Network Rail staff was averted following talks at the conciliation service Acas while First Great Western rail workers voted just days ago to back strikes over plans to axe guards & buffet cars.

Unions have pledged to fight Government plans to reform strike laws, which will include raising the turnout threshold in a strike ballot.

Source: “Sky News”