Rail Strikes to go ahead as management failed to negotiate a realistic settlement

Image: RMT Facebook public domain

Last-ditch talks fail to prevent strike.

London is bracing for mass disruption this week as a Tube strike and three days of rail walkouts coincide in a move set to cripple travel networks.

Transport for London (TfL) has warning against travel tomorrow as Tube workers launch a strike on Tuesday, 21 June, to coincide with the first day of a series of rail strikes spread across this week.

‘Severe’ disruption is expected throughout Tuesday, when many stations and lines will close, TfL says. Transport bosses are cautioning Tube passengers that the few services running are expected to be jam-packed with commuters – and bus services are set to be overwhelmed by long queues.

Drivers are being warned to expect a surge in traffic as train passengers switch to road transport during the rail strikes throughout this week.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Network Rail and 13 train operators are striking this week on June 21, 23 and 25, causing huge disruption to services.

The RMT and Unite members are striking on the London Underground on Tuesday, in a separate dispute.

After numerous attempts by the unions to negotiate terms with management talks break down.

The action is the result of a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. The RMT is asking for a pay rise of 7% – lower than inflation but higher than that being offered by employers.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said latest offers from publicly-owned Network Rail and private train operating companies had been rejected and suggested the employers’ hands had been tied by ministers.

Mr Lynch blamed transport secretary Grant Shapps for cutting billions of pounds in funding for public transport. The union also claims the government is trying to force through thousands of job cuts.

The media have attempted to divide and conquer, pitching workers against workers. They are making claim that any strike actions by the unions will hurt other workers. The fact is if the unions in their legitimate struggle are ever broken other workers will have no defence against the onslaught of Tory attacks to come.

National Rail & London Underground Strikes RMT statement:

Discussions with Network Rail and the Train Operators have continued today. The Train Operators have now made an offer and there is no further offer from Network Rail following the one which was rejected last Friday.

The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.

It is clear that the Tory Government after slashing £4bn of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.

The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.

At the behest of the Government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against Compulsory Redundancies.

As a result of this transport austerity, the employing companies have taken decisions to:

· Attack the Railway Pension Scheme and the TFL scheme, diluting benefits, making staff work longer and making them poorer in retirement, while paying increased contributions.

· Cut thousands of jobs across the rail network while not giving a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

· Cutting safety inspections on the infrastructure by 50% in order to facilitate mass redundancies.

· Attack terms, conditions and working practices in a form of internal fire and re-hire, including lowering existing salaries and increasing the working week.

· Re-starting the disputes on the role and responsibility of the guard and massive cuts to catering services.

· Closing every ticket office in Britain regardless of the accessibility needs of the diversity of passengers

· Cutting real pay for most of our members through lengthy pay freezes and well below RPI inflation pay proposals.

Faced with such an aggressive agenda of cuts to jobs, conditions, pay and pensions, RMT has no choice but to defend our members industrially to stop this race to the bottom.

The strikes on Network Rail, the Train Operators and London Underground will go ahead, and we again call on our members to stand firm, support the action, mount the pickets and demonstrate their willingness to fight for workplace justice.

The RMT supports the campaign for a square deal for all working people in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, and our current campaign is a part of that more general campaign which means that public services have to be properly funded and all workers properly paid with good conditions.

RMT remains available for discussions that will settle this dispute and ensure our transport system can operate without disruption.

Mick Lynch – RMT general secretary

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