TSSA ramps up industrial action on railways during December

Close up of train carriage displaying 'not in service' sign

Rail union TSSA has announced further industrial action for December in the union’s ongoing national rail dispute over pay, job security and conditions.

This comprises both strike action and industrial action short of a strike (ASOS), across Network Rail and a dozen train operating companies.

Strikes will take place at Avanti West Coast on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December (as well as ASOS from 18 December). Avanti members working in a range of operational, station, revenue, on-board and management roles will therefore take two lots of 48-hour strike action.

Strike action is also scheduled for the 17 December at c2c which serves more than two dozen stations between East London and South Essex.

ASOS, in which members will carry out only contractually required duties, will also take place at different times across various companies during the run up to Christmas.

The companies involved are Cross Country, East Midlands Railway (EMR), Great Western Railway (GWR), LNER, Northern, Southeastern, TransPennine Express (TPE), Greater Anglia, Govia Thameslink (GTR), West Midlands Trains (WMT), South Western Railway (SWR) as well as Network Rail (Bands 5-8 and equivalent and Controllers).

Action short of a strike will run from 13 December until the end of current ballot mandates, the majority of which end in January. In some companies this industrial action is already in place and will continue through to the end of ballot mandates.

This form of industrial action means in effect that TSSA members will not cover the duties of other rail workers who may be involved in strike action. Often called ‘contingency cover’, TSSA members will not take part in such work while the period of industrial action is in place.

TSSA remains in talks with Network Rail, but talks with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), acting on behalf of train operators, broke down yesterday (Tuesday) after the RDG revealed it has no authority to discuss pay and grading.

The union also met with Transport Secretary Mark Harper last week seeking clarity on the government’s role in the dispute and support to bring it to an end.

Commenting, TSSA Organising Director, Luke Chester, who has been leading talks said: “We have decided to push ahead with further industrial action because it’s vital that the train companies and the government understand that our demands are not going away.

“Our union has spent the past three weeks in talks and though some progress has been made it remains the case that Ministers are just not willing to open up space for a negotiated settlement.

“Given that talks with the RDG have now broken down we have no option but to continue with our industrial action. We remain available for further serious talks aimed at resolving the dispute, but further strike action is likely if the current impasse in negotiations continues.

“We have been patient but the government’s refusal to enable employers to make an offer to settle the dispute will now cause misery for passengers.

“A meaningful offer could and should have been made by now which would have settled this dispute, but until that happens our members will not back down.”

Earlier this week TSSA also announced plans to re-ballot ten train companies for further strike action which would see the dispute run well into the new year. 

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