Rail union TSSA has served notice to ballot over 6,000 staff at Network Rail for strike action and action short of strike in a dispute over pay, conditions and job security.
The ballot comes as part of an escalating dispute with Network Rail and the wider rail industry, which could result in widespread disruption across Britain’s rail network. TSSA’s members work in operational, control, management and safety critical roles on rail services across Britain.
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.
Members are being asked to cast two votes: one on strike action, another on action short of strike. The timetable for the ballot is:
Ballot opens: 20 June 2022
Ballot closes: 11 July 2022
In the event of a yes vote, strike action could take place as early as 25 July 2022
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We could be seeing a Summer of discontent across our railways if Network Rail don’t see sense and come to the table to face the concerns of their staff.
“Network Rail staff are 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.
“Fat cat bosses have so far refused these completely reasonable requests, leaving us with no option other than to ballot for industrial action, something which is always a last resort.
“It’s frankly ridiculous that we’re being forced to ballot. Network Rail only responded to our requests for pay talks – made before Christmas – when we moved the issue to dispute in April and have dragged their heels at every stage.
“Our members have had enough. Make no mistake, we are preparing for all options, including coordinated strike action.”
TSSA members in Network Rail
TSSA represents 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 is being run by election specialists, Civica. All eligible TSSA members will receive a ballot paper by post.
TSSA members in train operating companies covered by the Department for Transport are also in dispute over pay, conditions and job security. Ballots for industrial action have been called in Avanti West Coast, Cross Country, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains.