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Rail timetabling chaos set to escalate through winter

11 September 2018

TUC Congress will be told today that widespread industrial action across the UK's rail networks is on the cards this winter if Transport Secretary Chris Grayling's threat of wage cuts is not neutralised.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes has written to Train Operating Company and Network Rail seeking assurances they will not collude with Grayling's workforce wind-up by adopting his advice to impose pay rises which fall below the normal Retail Price Index, the benchmark that is used to determine pay increases. Grayling has said he wants to see the lower rate of Consumer Price Index become the new pay guideline. TSSA is awaiting response to its request from rail companies.

Both TSSA and sister union RMT believe this to be " a declaration of hostilities from the Transport Secretary and will ask Congress Congress give it's support to their rail union resistance should this pay cut be enforced.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes, says staff morale across our rail industry is lower than at any period he can remember.

"Our members are being badly let down by their bosses who are squeezing the industry for profit til the pips squeak. They simply don't have enough staff and vacancies across our industry are abound with our rail services being run on the good will of our overworked and over-fatigued members. I cant remember a time when morale was so low.

"So Grayling has really got their backs up by saying to the people who are doing their best to keep Britain's railways moving in the face of the biggest disruption to rail schedules in peacetime history that they aren't worth a pay rise. And worse still they will get a pay cut.
But Grayling is over-reaching hinself. Our members are furious with him. Unless he backs off or better still is booted out, industrial action including strikes this coming winter loom large.

"We will be seeking solidarity from our sisters and brothers at Congress to send a signal to our members that this dysfunctional Tory government, that if they try to take on railworkers, the full weight of the Trades Union movement will be behind them as they bring our railways to a halt this winter to hold Chris Grayling and this lamentable government to account."

Note to desks: This is the motion
Attack on Rail Workers’ Pay
Congress notes with some concern that on 14th of August the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, wrote to trade unions and the rail employers’ body, the Rail Delivery Group, asking employers to introduce CPI as opposed to RPI as the inflation measure for future pay deals.
Congress further notes the RDG as well as Network Rail is comprised of private sector rail employers who make massive profits out of railway privatisation. Congress notes CPI is consistently lower than RPI and does not include many important costs incurred by workers, such as housing costs. Congress is concerned if the proposals in the Secretary of States letter go unchallenged rail workers could be worse off by tens of thousands of pounds.
Congress views this as a declaration of hostilities on rail workers who have long since grown accustomed to RPI being used as the accepted benchmark when their earnings are reviewed. Not content with hammering the standard of living of passengers, Chris Grayling want to also hammer rail workers so the government can protect the massive profits and pay rises of rail bosses.
Rail unions will rightly resist and fight any attempts to attack the living standards of their members and widespread industrial action across the rail network is inevitable.
Congress notes the TUC’s analysis shows that:
Since 2008 rail fares have risen by 42 per cent whist average weekly pay has grown by only 18 per cent; and
Private train operators paid at least £165m in dividends to their shareholders last year, at a time when overall taxpayer subsidy to the rail industry reached £3.5bn.
Congress is also appalled that as many rail contracts allow for the private rail firms to be reimbursed for revenues lost as a result of the industrial action, Chris Grayling is using public money to bankroll private employers in his war against rail workers. Congress notes the ever-worsening chaos around the rail industry under ‘Failing Grayling’ and views with contempt his shameful attempt to link inflation busting rail fare increases for underperforming services directly to the earnings of rail workers.
Congress will not allow rail workers to be used as cannon fodder in the face of ministerial incompetence and private greed. Congress condemns the Secretary of State’s letter and commits the General Council to support the rail union’s likely industrial action in resisting the proposals and any attempt by industry employers to move from RPI to CPI as the accepted benchmark for future pay negotiations.
Moved by RMT
Seconded by TSSA

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