Unions warn of widespread rail strikes over pay

Rail unions have warned of widespread industrial action over pay this winter.

The TSSA and RMT leaders have said the action is on the cards if Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s threat of wage cuts is not neutralised.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Our members are being badly let down by their bosses who are squeezing the industry for profit til the pips squeak. They simply don’t have enough staff and vacancies across our industry are abound with our rail services being run on the good will of our overworked and over-fatigued members.

“So Grayling has really got their backs up by saying to the people who are doing their best to keep Britain’s railways moving in the face of the biggest disruption to rail schedules in peacetime history that they aren’t worth a pay rise. And worse still they will get a pay cut.

“But Grayling is over-reaching hinself. Our members are furious with him. Unless he backs off or better still is booted out, industrial action including strikes this coming winter loom large.

“We will be seeking solidarity from our sisters and brothers at Congress to send a signal to our members that this dysfunctional Tory government, that if they try to take on railworkers, the full weight of the trade union movement will be behind them as they bring our railways to a halt this winter to hold Chris Grayling and this lamentable government to account.”

Speaking at a fringe meeting earlier during TUC Congress, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Chris Grayling has made it crystal clear that he intends to try and impose a nationwide pay cap on RMT members linked to the bogus CPI inflation figure. Any such move would rob workers of thousands of pounds across Network Rail, the train operating companies and quite possibly London Underground as well.

“The CPI measure Grayling is promoting doesn’t even take into account the cost of a roof over your head and if he seriously thinks that our members are going to take the hit to their pay for his incompetence and the greed of the train companies he has got another coming. RMT will be mobilising a national campaign to smash the pay cap which will include the use of co-ordinated industrial action if required to protect and enhance our members pay and conditions.”

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