Four days of national strike action against job cuts and in defence of safety were announced by the RMT and TSSA rail unions yesterday, in which 12,000 maintenance workers and 800 supervisors will stage an all-out strike from 6am on Tuesday April 6th until 11.59pm on Friday April 9th.
At the same time, 5,000 signallers will strike between 6am and 10am and 6pm and 10pm on the same days.
Railworkers will also ban overtime and restday working during the strike.
Gerry Doherty, General Secretary of the TSSA, said: ‘We do not accept what Network rail is saying that their proposals will have no effect on safety. We certainly do not accept that.’
On March 11th, the RMT announced that its members on Network Rail maintenance had voted 77 per cent in favour of strike action against plans by the company to axe 1,500 safety-critical jobs and to rip up national agreements on working practices.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘These issues aren’t about more money. They aren’t about achieving better pay and conditions, which are all issues which might be acceptable for having disputes in the future, this is about the safety of the railway network.
‘We don’t believe what Network Rail are doing by extracting these jobs from the industry and replacing them with trying to change the conditions for those that remain will adequately support a safe railway system.
‘We’ve been involved and we’ve seen Railtrack and we’ve seen three crashes and we’re not going to that again.
‘I was at Greyrigg two hours after a train rolled down the bank at 110 miles an hour and I saw our members and the travelling public with blankets round them and with blood on them and I saw the fear on their faces and the stress and we’re not going to take our members down that route.’
Crow continued: ‘Our members have been patient enough and we can’t have a situation where the company keep coming up with proposals which will deteriorate and dilute safety in the railway network.
‘They can have all the consultants they want. They can call on this person, that person, the real consultants out there, the real experts, are our members who have been balloted and who deliver the work for Network Rail every single day of the week.
‘And quite clearly the two ballots for industrial action both by RMT and TSSA have both delivered a massive thumbs down to the safety proposals of Network Rail.’