Members of the RMT rail union voted decisively for more strike action this summer, which means more trouble for train travellers.
The union announced on Thursday that 90% of the members who submitted ballots across 14 train operating firms were in favor of holding more strikes over the following six months.
With an average turnout of over 70% in each company, union head Mick Lynch called the outcome a “de facto referendum” on the conflict.
“It is clear from these results that members are not prepared to accept a pay offer based on mass job cuts and major attacks on their terms and conditions,” Lynch stated.
This sends a loud and unambiguous message to rail companies that employee anger is genuine and that they need to adjust their plans accordingly. A better deal for rail employees requires them to get down with RMT and negotiate in good faith.
To maintain their right to engage in industrial action, unions embroiled in disputes must reballot their members every six months.
On May 13th, the day before the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, the next 24-hour strike is scheduled to begin.
This comes after negotiations stalled last month. Lynch claimed that the government “pressured” the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to back down from a 9% offer the union had been mulling for weeks, by making the first year’s wage package reliant on the union withdrawing its authorization for strike action.
To paraphrase what Lynch said, “the RDG is now saying they would only implement the first year payment of 5% if the union terminated its industrial mandate,” which would prevent any further strike action.
Mark Harper, the United Kingdom’s transport secretary, lashed out at train unions earlier this week for their role in the 13 May strike.
Instead of “cynically targeting” Eurovision, which Ukraine won last year, Harper said railroad workers should work “in solidarity” with Ukrainian railway staff who have been slaughtered.
Aslef, a union representing railway operators, is also organizing a strike for May 12. Just recently, it turned down a wage offer of 4% annually for two years, calling the plan “risible” in light of inflation running at 10%.
several football fans from the north of England will be making the trip to London to see two Manchester clubs play in the FA Cup final on June 3. However, several drivers have announced that they will be striking again on May 31 and June 3, the day of the game.
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