TSSA brands government’s agency worker plans “desperate and dangerous.”

Overhead electric lines above railway track

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has labelled the government “desperate and dangerous” after it published plans to change the law so that agency workers can be used to cover strikes. 

The idea was touted by Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, during rail strikes last week, and has now been laid before the Commons as draft legislation

The Welsh Labour government has already reacted by saying it would resist the imposition of the legalisation in Wales. 

Commenting, union leader Cortes said: “Bringing in strike breaking workers who do not possess the knowledge or skills to run a safe railway is deeply troubling. 

“Clearly this is a government which is ever more desperate and dangerous when it comes to stopping workers having the freedom to organise to protect their rights, pay, jobs and conditions. 

“Ministers seem perfectly willing to escalate disputes but do absolutely nothing to end them. Their shameful draconian plans are an attack not only on rail workers, but all workers and they pay no heed to long-standing British values.  

“Ministers really should think again and ditch these proposals before a mistake is made which costs lives on our railways." 

*TSSA is currently balloting members over strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions at several rail companies – Network Rail, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, Northern, LNER, Southeastern, Great Western Railway, C2C, Greater Anglia and TransPennine Express. 

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Our Rail Our Future:Frequently Asked Questions

Industrial action happens when trade union members are in a dispute with their employers that can't be solved through negotiations. A trade union can only call for industrial action if a majority of its members involved support it in a properly organised postal vote - called a 'ballot’. The members then use the ballot to vote in favour of ‘strike action’ and ‘action short of strike action’