TSSA Ballot Results at Network Rail

Network Rail engineers in high vis doing overhead wires and improvement works at Leeds station

Thousands of TSSA rail union members at Network Rail have voted for strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over pay, conditions and job security.

More than 6,000 rail workers in a wide range of operational roles – including engineering, maintenance, supervisory, support, and – crucially – control roles have voted in favour of both strike action and action short of strike.

Managerial staff in the top bands of the company also voted in favour of both strike action and action short of strike. However, the strike action vote missed out on the required legal threshold by less than 2%, so while managers in bands 1-4 can take action short of strike, they cannot take strike action from this result.

TSSA is not naming dates for any industrial action today, but will now consider next steps with workplace Reps at Network Rail.

The ballot comes as part of an escalating dispute across the wider rail industry, and the growing likelihood of widespread disruption. TSSA’s members at Network Rail work in operational, control, management and safety critical roles on rail services across Britain.


The result of the ballot, which was run in three parts, is as follows:

Bands 5-8 and controllers (more than 2,500 people)

Prepared to take industrial action consisting of a strike:

· Yes: 77.4%

· No: 22.6%

· Turnout was: 61.4%

Prepared to take industrial action short of a strike:

· Yes: 90.8%

· No: 9.2%

· Turnout was: 61.4%


Maintenance Engineers

Prepared to take industrial action consisting of a strike:

· Yes: 69.2%

· No: 30.8%

· Turnout was: 64.7%


Prepared to take industrial action short of a strike:

· Yes: 88.8 per cent

· No: 11.2 per cent

· Turnout was: 64.7 per cent


Bands 1-4 (management grades, more than 3,500 people)

Prepared to take industrial action consisting of a strike:

· Yes: 68.2%

· No: 31.8%

· Turnout was: 56.9%

Prepared to take industrial action short of a strike:

· Yes: 86.8%

· No: 13.2%

· Turnout was: 56.9%

(Under anti-trade union laws this means Bands 1-4 are able to take only action short of a strike)

TSSA is demanding a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for 2022, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which reflects the rising cost of living. Network Rail staff last had a pay rise between two and three years ago (it varies between grades) and also worked throughout the coronavirus pandemic as key workers.


TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Well done to all our members across Network Rail who took part in these ballots. This is a great set of results for our union and echoes our ballots for industrial action at many train operating companies.

"Many of our Network Rail members have voted for industrial action for the first time ever in their careers. The strength of feeling among management grade staff as well as operational ones is clearly significant.

“I have already warned that we are likely to see a summer of discontent across our railways and these results greatly increase the prospect of major disruption as management grade staff in Network Rail have now given our union a mandate to call on them not to cover the roles of their colleagues taking part in strike action through their overwhelming vote in favour of action short of strike.

“Frankly, when the fat cat team at Network Rail and their puppet masters at the Department for Transport lose the support of their management grade staff they must know that the game is up. Our members are simply asking for basic fair treatment: not to be sacked from their jobs, a fair pay rise in the face of a cost-of-living-crisis and no race to the bottom on terms and conditions.

“Our members have had enough. It would be unwise to ignore the feelings of our membership. We will speak to our workplace Reps to consider next steps in the forthcoming days and I strongly urge Network Rail top brass to change their approach to this dispute.

“While Grant Shapps is busy occupied with his pipe dream of becoming Prime Minister, the country would be better served if he did his current day job and resolved the mounting rail dispute. We need a fair settlement for workers who were hailed as heroes in the pandemic."


*TSSA members in Network Rail

TSSA represents more than 6,000 Network Rail workers in a wide variety of engineering, maintenance, supervisory, control and management roles. They manage short-notice access to rail infrastructure and keep passenger and freight services moving when timetables slip.

Stations: TSSA members hold safety-critical roles at Network Rail-managed major rail stations, including: Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Edinburgh Waverly, Glasgow Central, Leeds, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, and London stations: London Bridge, Charing Cross, Euston, Kings

Cross, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo. Industrial action would be likely to have a severe impact on rail services at those stations.

TSSA members work out of Network Rail’s headquarters for key regions and routes, which include: Basingstoke, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Crewe, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Blackfriars, London Stratford, London Waterloo, Milton Keynes, Manchester, and York.

The ballot was run by election specialists, Civica. All eligible TSSA members will receive a ballot paper by post.

*TSSA is currently also balloting members over strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions at Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia ,TransPennine Express (results due Wednesday 13 July).

Members have voted for strike action at Southeastern, LNER, c2c, East Midlands Railway, CrossCountry, in station grates at Avanti West Coast and for action short of a strike at West Midlands Trains and Northern.

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