Rail union TSSA has announced plans to reissue ballots for strike action at four train operating companies where members recently voted to strike but the legal threshold for walkouts was narrowly missed as a result of anti-trade union laws.
Ballots will be held at West Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia, Northern and TransPennine Express.
Ballots open: Thursday 28 July
Ballots close: Thursday 25 August
The original ballot of members, at each company, saw the legal threshold for strike action – which is 40 per cent of the entire electorate – missed by fine margins and in one case by just a single vote. Given that among those who voted there was an overwhelming preference to strike, the union is determined that the wishes of members are fulfilled.
Commenting TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “We’ve had a strong set of ballot results for strike action across the rail companies our union represents and that reflects the strength of feeling about the government-created crisis on our railways.
“In a handful of companies, members voted overwhelmingly in favour of being able to take strike action but the numbers taking part fell just below the required artificial Tory threshold, often by tiny margins. That is a democratic deficit which cannot be allowed to stand.
“Re-balloting will make sure our members have the chance to restate their mandate for strike action and stop the Tories’ gerrymandering of their human right to withdraw their labour. I’m extremely confident we will see a significant uptick in participation which takes us over the deliberately obstructive threshold.
“The clear wishes of our hard-working members will not be thwarted by draconian anti-democratic Tory legislation. This is a fight for pay, job security and conditions – but it is also a fight for the future of our railways and our union will be on the front line.”
Ballots in these four companies secured mandates for industrial action SHORT of a strike above the legal thresholds and those mandates for that industrial action remain live.
*West Midlands Trains
At West Midlands Trains over 62 per cent of those voting backed strike action, a margin of nearly 25 per cent over those against. Here the legal threshold for strike action was missed by 0.2 per cent – less than one vote. The original ballot ran from 16 June to 7 July.
At TransPennine Express almost 70 per cent of those voting backed strike action, a 30 per cent margin over those voting against. Here the legal threshold for strike action was missed by 0.6 per cent. The original ballot ran from 29 June to 13 July.
At Greater Anglia almost 70 per cent of those voting backed strike action, a margin of almost 40 per cent over those against. The original ballot ran from 29 June to 13 July.
At Northern, 59 per cent of those voting backed strike action, an eighteen per cent margin over those voting against. The original ballot ran from 22 June to 6 July.
TSSA members in station grades at Avanti West Coast will stage a one-day strike on 27 July. Members at Great Western Railway are taking action short of strike on 30 July. Members have also voted for strike action at LNER, c2c, East Midlands Railway, CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, Southeastern and much of Network Rail.