RMT confirms dates for ballot for national rail operations staff industrial action over reductions in safety

RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed that a ballot for national industrial action involving Network Rail operations staff across the country will begin next Thursday – 4th March.

The ballot, which will involve all signalling and supervisory members, centres on three issues:

  • The company’s plans for operational staff to take over responsibilities in relation to T3 possessions – the critical safety arrangements allowing for works on a section of track – previously undertaken by maintenance staff.
  • The company’s breach of national agreements through the imposition of rosters at certain locations
  • The company’s failure to adhere to the agreed Promotion, Transfer, Redundancy and Resettlement (PTR&R) arrangements.

RMT has sought unequivocal assurances on each of these three serious issues but, despite considerable correspondence, Network Rail has failed to provide them.

An RMT ballot for national industrial action involving 13,000 Network Rail maintenance staff began yesterday – 25 February.

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, said:

Network Rail appear to believe that they can rip up national agreements at will and simply impose new working arrangements on our members. They also appear to believe that they can ignore long-established arrangements on redeployment and redundancy.

On top of that Network Rail are prepared to scrap the tried and tested safety measure of placing detonators at either end of a track possession and to shift responsibility on to operational staff. This dangerous move is all about saving money and is bound up with their drive to axe up to 1500 safety-critical maintenance jobs.

We have worked long and hard to try and nail down assurances on these issues from the company but have hit a point-blank refusal and we now have no alternative but to ballot for action.”

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