UK rail groups prepare plans to restrict services ahead of strike vote

Railway executives are formulating emergency plans to cut Britain’s rail network to 12 hours’ service before union members vote this week on what will be the biggest Railway strike Beat the country in 30 years.

The RMT union has asked 40,000 employees of infrastructure network operator Network Rail and members of 15 companies operating trains to vote in favor of industrial operations in a vote that closes on Tuesday.

The controversy focuses on Network Rail’s plans to cut at least 2,500 maintenance jobs, and what the RMT has called a “wage” attack on wages and conditions at railway companies.

The RMT said the threatened strikes would be the largest in the UK in 30 years. It has not yet decided whether it will carry out rolling operations or “one big operation” involving Network Rail and train operators, said one union official. The earliest first day of each strike will be June 7th.

Network Rail will brief train and freight operators that in the worst-case scenario the train will have to go down for 12 hours of service a day, according to two industry executives.

Ministers and senior train industry executives believe a strike by guards or station workers would be manageable, but the possibility of a nationwide strike on a network train, and in particular signals, could cause more lasting damage to the economy and disrupt commuters.

These services will be “drastically” smaller than usual – around 20% of the current schedule – with major routes taking precedence over branching lines, one executive said.

The transportation industry operates a service 24 hours a day, leaving it even more vulnerable to disruption. Letters and packages from Royal Mail, Heathrow Airport Fuel and power plant fuel are some of the goods that may be affected by the strike.

The train delivery group, which represents railway companies, said the industry is planning a drawer “to keep goods and commuters moving this coming summer”.

The government believes there is a “huge space” to cut railway rail costs, and argues that maintaining huge subsidies to operate the network at the time of a lower number of passengers is unbearable.

RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch said: “We believe in the modernization of the railways but we do not believe in the sacrifice of thousands of jobs, the constant freezing of wages or the making of the railways unsafe.

“This is the meaning of government plans for the railways if RMT and other transport unions do not conduct comprehensive protection of the industry.”

Still, ministers believe the ballot may not reach the required threshold of 50 percent of the vote and 40 percent of approval from all voters.

Out of 49 RMT cards in 2020, 15 did not meet the two thresholds set as a legal requirement for industrial action in 2016. “This is not a super-militant society,” said one of the officials.

Ministers also believe the impact of the mass RMT strike could be limited by the fact that people are more used to working from home.

UK rail groups prepare plans to restrict services ahead of strike vote Source link UK rail groups prepare plans to restrict services ahead of strike vote

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