Our Union is once again forced to declare industrial action as we fight to defend jobs, protect terms and conditions and secure a pay rise that helps you cope with the ever-rising cost of living. Alongside our sisters and brothers in ASLEF and RMT, we have targeted Saturday 1 October for strike action as many leading members of the Government will be travelling to their party conference and Saturday is one of the busiest days on the network.
Therefore, members in Bands 5-8 (and equivalent) and Controller Grades are instructed not to commence work between 02:01 on Saturday 1 October and 01:59 on Sunday 2 October.
We need the new Prime Minister and her new Secretary of State for Transport to understand that Grant Shapps' plan to slash jobs and prevent fair pay increases for rail workers is deeply flawed. Government intervention is the primary cause of this dispute and Government intervention is required to resolve the situation. Ms Truss and Ms Trevelyan have the opportunity to get around the table with us and provide for a bright future for our railway and all of us that work to deliver services every day. Passenger numbers continue to rise and demand for services is increasing. Cutting back the railway is not the answer and certainly won’t help the UK economy or our climate emergency.
Network Rail has been consistent in its position that any pay offer must be financed through efficiencies, in this case the company’s Modernising Maintenance proposals. There isn’t a pay offer on the table without a way forwards on Modernising Maintenance, and the principles that come out of this discussion will inevitably be used in any future proposals from the company to make savings elsewhere in Maintenance and in Operations. That’s why it is important for us all to stick together and secure a fair set of principles for Modernising Maintenance. Not only will that outcome deliver a pay offer that we can put to you in a referendum, but it will protect our members in both Maintenance and the wider pay bargaining group both now and in the future.
Discussions on the principles for Modernising Maintenance have been taking place and progress has been made. This is a complicated and detailed set of discussions involving multiple unions and as such progress can seem slow at times. However, the company has committed to publishing notes from the meetings that are taking place to keep those of you interested in the detail up to date. Your reps will continue to represent your interests in all appropriate discussions with the company to secure the best possible outcome in the shortest possible timescales, and you will shortly be receiving an invitation to meet with the lead Maintenance reps and Organiser for an update on the talks and to answer your questions. An agreement is possible, but for now we must remain strong and united in our determination to ensure that meaningful talks do happen, and they do reach a conclusion that is fair for all.
Visibility during Industrial Action is really important and a way to come together in solidarity with your fellow colleagues. If you would like to be involved in organising or attending a picket at your workplace, during the next 24 hour period of industrial action, please speak to your local representatives.