Rail union TSSA will ballot thousands of members in 12 train operating companies for strike action in the ongoing dispute over pay, job security, and terms and conditions.
Ballot papers will be sent out next Wednesday 1 February with the ballot closing on 28 February.
The union has been at the centre of the national rail dispute which has seen rolling strikes and other forms of industrial action since July last year. Last month (Dec 2022) TSSA members voted overwhelmingly to accept an offer from Network Rail (General Grades, Bands 5-8 & equivalent and Controllers) worth up to 11 per cent in pay, with other benefits, plus job security and terms and conditions guarantees.
However, the union has had no comparable offer from the train companies and has decided to take the new ballot action in the hope that it will force a settlement.
TSSA has been in talks with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) over the past fortnight, and more talks are being held this week. Yet so far, no proposals have been made which address the demands of all members involved in the dispute.
The union has called on the government to stop placing restrictions on talks and allow the train companies a free hand in moving towards a settlement.
The 12 companies involved are: C2C, Cross Country, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, GTR, LNER, Northern, Southeastern Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express, and West Midlands Trains. A re-ballot is already taking place at Avanti West Coast, closing on 17 February.
Commenting, TSSA Interim General Secretary, Frank Ward said: “We have been clear for some time it is our intention to move to re-ballot members across the train companies in the absence of an acceptable offer.
“The talks in recent weeks have again highlighted how much of a block on serious offers this government is being and there’s no way we will simply sit on our hands in the hope that something changes.
“This dispute could have been sorted months ago, but as things stand we are still without an offer for all our members in the train operating companies. This remains the case even though we have settled with Network Rail, and ministers know that.
“Our members are resolute and determined to use their industrial power to secure job security, an acceptable pay rise and protections to their terms and conditions.
“No one wants a race to the bottom or practices that would make our railways less safe or less accessible for passengers, so we are pressing ahead with these ballots – and calling on members to vote yes.”