A series of national rail strikes that was due to seriously disrupt train services has been called off by the RMT union, although without enough notice to avoid serious disruption on Saturday. The RMT says that it has suspended planned strikes on Nov 5th, 7th and 9th and will now enter into a period of intensive negotiations with Network Rail and the train operating companies.
The RMT says that it has secured “unconditional talks on Network Rail and the promise of an offer from the train operating companies”
The train companies are warning that while they will be able to run a normal service next week, the cancellation of the strike action for tomorrow (Saturday) has come too late for them to be able to amend their strike-day timetables. For its part, Network Rail has suggested that just 20% of services will be able to run on Saturday, and they will seek to reset the timetable for Monday.
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “It is positive that the RMT leadership have stepped back from the brink and called off their strike action. Unfortunately, the late notice means that while train companies are working hard to reinstate services, they will remain severely disrupted for our passengers tomorrow and into the early part of next week. Our advice remains to please check before you travel and on Saturday and Monday, only travel by rail if necessary.”
While train companies will try to re-roster their staff following the RMT’s announcement, the short notice means that train driver availability will inevitably rely primarily on volunteers offering to change their shifts.
The current dispute with the RMT remains active though, and the union is continuing its re-ballot of members to secure a fresh mandate for action with the result due on 15th November.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The threat of strike action and our strongly supported industrial campaign has made the rail employers see sense.
“We have always wanted to secure a negotiated settlement and that is what we will continue to push for in this next phase of intensive talks.
“Our priority is our members, and we are working towards securing a deal on job security, a decent pay rise and good working conditions.”
However, strike action by TSSA members working for Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway (EMR) will still go ahead on Saturday 5th November. And strike action on the London Underground for Thursday 10th November is also still set to go ahead.
This article was published on ianVisits
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