British Rail Association conducts series of strikes during festive season

Britain’s rail workers’ union has announced a series of 48-hour strikes during the December and January holiday season amid a long-running dispute over employment, wages and conditions.

More than 40,000 members of the Rail, Shipping and Transportation (RMT) unions of Network Rail and 14 rail operators went on strike on December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and January 3, 4, 6 and 7 to hold.

Also, from December 18th to January 2nd, overtime work will be prohibited across the railways. This means RMT will take industrial action over his four weeks.

Transportation Secretary Mark Harper will meet with RMT Secretary Mick Lynch on Nov. 24 to prevent a strike action that will cause great disruption over the Christmas and New Year period.

Epoch Times photo
Commuters at Euston station after London’s RMT train strike brought the rail network to a halt on August 20, 2022. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

“clear message”

RMT said it was forced to go on strike after Network Rail and railway operators failed to offer improvements in terms of employment, wages and conditions.

In a statement, the union also accused the government of “directly sabotaging” attempts at reconciliation.

“This series of strikes shows how important union members are to running this country and want a good deal on job security, wages and employee conditions,” union leader Lynch said. It will send a clear message that

He added: “This whole process has become a farce that only the new Secretary of State can solve. If I see him later this week, I will pass on that message.”

He said the union “sorry for the inconvenience” to the public, but said people should direct their anger and frustration to the government and railroad employers.

“Progress” in Talks

Railroad employers have criticized the RMT’s decision, saying negotiations with the union are progressing.

Network Rail Chief Negotiator Tim Shoveller said: A blow widens that hole, making the task of finding a solution more difficult than ever.

“Only through reforms that do not result in anyone losing their jobs can we make savings and turn them into improved offers.”

He said, “We’ve seen progress in the last two weeks,” and urged RMT to “get back to the table with a more realistic understanding of the situation.”

Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators, said: It’s part of the pockets of railroad workers and will do a great deal of damage to the hospitality and retail sectors on which their business depends during this time. “

“The industry’s actions have already cost the industry millions of dollars in revenue, slowing its post-pandemic recovery and threatening its long-term sustainability.”

A spokesman for the group urged RMT to “stay at the negotiating table” and “end the dispute that is damaging passengers, the industry and its members.”

‘Biggest confusion’

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said: These strikes are not only damaging the economy, they are cutting off people in need of urgent care, school-going children and hard-working families. “

Labor and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said the consequences of the strike were “very serious” and would disrupt medical appointments and family reunions during the festive period.

“The timing of these strikes is designed to create maximum disruption over the Christmas period,” he told TalkTV on Nov. 23.

The largest opposition party, Labor, said people had a right to campaign for a fair wage deal, but ultimately needed one.

Yvette Cooper, Labor’s shadow Home Secretary, told the BBC:

“And people have the right to withdraw their labor and strike as part of it. This is what we have been doing.

She said she hopes the government will “act together on this.”

minimum service level

The UK has been hit by a series of strikes in recent months, causing severe disruption to multiple sectors including railways, ports and local government.

The government of former Prime Minister Liz Truss said it would adopt “minimum service levels” to stop trade unions from shutting down transportation networks during strikes.

In an interview with Sky News on 23 November, Stride said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government remains committed to the plan, but no timetable has been set for the bill.

he said: A plug can be pulled all over for a variety of reasons. “

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan