Tensions between the UK authorities and commerce unions are rising once more, with rail staff set to strike on the eve of the Conservative occasion convention as unions launched a authorized problem in opposition to new strikebreaking rules.
The RMT union mentioned on Tuesday that its members at Network Rail and 14 practice operators would take motion to carry companies to an “effective standstill” on October 1, attributable to a seamless dispute over pay and dealing circumstances.
The 24-hour strike would be the newest in a sequence of walkouts reflecting mounting unrest between unions, practice working firms and the federal government.
The motion by the RMT, which represents 40,000 rail staff, will coincide with strikes by bus drivers in south-west England and with the primary of two one-day walkouts by the practice drivers’ union Aslef on October 1 and 5.
The strikes are anticipated to trigger widespread disruption earlier than and after the Tory occasion convention, which is scheduled to happen in Birmingham between October 2 and 5.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, representing staff within the transport and journey industries, can also be anticipated to announce new strike dates within the coming days.
Mick Lynch, RMT secretary-general, mentioned transport staff had been “sending a clear message” that “working people will not accept continued attacks on pay and working conditions at a time when business profits are at an all-time high”.
The authorities, which units the rail trade’s annual budgets, and practice firms argue that important pay rises can solely be afforded if unions settle for sweeping modernisation, comparable to modifications to working patterns.
“[Rail sector] revenue is still around 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, no business can survive that scale of upheaval without implementing change,” the Rail Delivery Group mentioned.
The trade physique mentioned the strikes would “hugely inconvenience” passengers, together with folks travelling to the London Marathon on October 2.
Separately, the union Unite, which represents staff at Felixstowe, the UK’s greatest container port, has already set dates for every week of contemporary strikes, beginning on the finish of the month. Unite can also be main two weeks of commercial motion at Liverpool’s port, set to finish on October 3.
Since the rail disputes started earlier in the summertime, just one pay deal has been agreed when a small variety of TSSA members accepted a 4 per cent rise from Network Rail.
One union government welcomed the latest appointment of Anne-Marie Trevelyan transport secretary, who met Aslef boss Mick Whelan final week — a marked departure from the strategy of her predecessor Grant Shapps who refused to satisfy union bosses.
Meanwhile, the Trades Union Congress mentioned on Tuesday that 11 of its member unions had launched a authorized problem in opposition to new rules which are designed to cease staff taking efficient strike motion, by permitting employers to rent company workers to plug the gaps.
The unions are making use of for a judicial evaluation of the rules, arguing that they’re illegal as a result of ministers didn’t seek the advice of unions as required at their inception, and that they violate elementary commerce union rights protected beneath the European Convention on Human Rights.
The new guidelines, that are additionally opposed by the recruitment trade, had been rushed on to the statute e book earlier in the summertime as the federal government sought to forestall a wave of strike motion.
Ministers mentioned the rules had been wanted to “minimise the power of union bosses” and stop “militant” unions shutting down very important public companies. But Frances O’Grady, TUC common secretary, mentioned the federal government was attacking the elemental proper to strike “in broad daylight”.
Rail employers mentioned the brand new guidelines would make little distinction to strike disruption, since company staff couldn’t change expert workers at quick discover.