More rail workers go on strike to worsen wages, jobs and dispute over conditions

More rail workers are expected to go on strike later this month, exacerbating disputes that threaten travel chaos for passengers.

Unite announced that its members employed by Network Rail (NR) as electrical control room operators will join other rail unions in actions on August 18 and 20.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) also announced that thousands of its NR members will strike on the same dates.

TSSA said it notified after asking NR for “clear assurances and clarity” about job security and work practices.

None of these guarantees have been given and a 14-day notice required by law has already been given, the union said.

Secretary General Manuel Cortes said: “Our union has a strong mandate for strike action on the Rede Ferroviária in these categories and the strikes will have a huge impact.

“Our members are simply asking for basic fair treatment: no getting fired from their jobs, a fair pay raise in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and no race down on terms and conditions.

“No one takes strike action lightly, but we are left with little choice. Our notes and general controllers are a force to be reckoned with. Without them the rail network doesn’t work, it’s that simple.

“Unfortunately, it now looks like we are about to see even more disruptions to our railways this summer. It’s time for company bosses to tell the government they need to get a grip.

“Our door remains open, but only if there is a significant offer on the table that will give our members the fair deal they deserve to keep our rail network safe every day of the year.”

Unite said electrical control room operators play a crucial role as they are responsible for managing and controlling the power supply to the rail network.

Secretary General Sharon Graham said: “Our members have played a crucial role in keeping the rail network running during the pandemic, ensuring essential workers and goods can be transported.

“The thanks they receive for their sacrifices from their employers is a derisory offer that amounts to a kick in the teeth.

“Unite is entirely dedicated to defending the jobs, wages and conditions of its members.

“Our Network Rail members will receive full union support until this dispute is resolved and workers receive a fair wage agreement.”

Workers are based in control rooms in Brighton, East Sussex; York; Paddock Wood, Kent; Raynes Park, South London; Romford, Essex and Selhurst Road, South London.

Unite said its members have not received a pay raise in three years and are increasingly struggling to make ends meet due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “The strike action by Unite members will no doubt cause further disruption to rail service, but this dispute is entirely of Network Rail’s own making.

“Our members expect and deserve a pay raise that addresses the cost-of-living crisis they face.”

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport and TSSA unions are on strike on August 18th and 20th, while RMT members on the London Underground will be on strike for 24 hours on August 19th.

Members of the Aslef drivers’ union at nine railway companies will strike on 13 August, following a strike last month.

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s lead negotiator, said: “We are doing everything possible to avoid disruptions for our passengers later this month, but it appears our unions are coordinating their strike action to maximize impact on August 18th and 20th.

“We urge all of our unions to work with us to reach an agreement that is fair to their members, our employees and affordable to taxpayers and passengers, and we think it’s fair for members to have a say in the offers we’ve made. ”

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