The rail industry conflict has been dubbed the “battle of our lifetime” by union baron Mick Lynch as strikes threaten to get worse and train drivers earning up to £71,000 a year vote on industrial action.
The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Lynch, who earns £124,000 year, said the wage, job, and condition negotiations were the “toughest” the union had ever been a part of.
After his members decided to call their first nationwide strike since 1995, Aslef president Mike Whelan warned commuters that there would be “huge” disruption in the coming months.
Massive train driver walkouts over compensation in the upcoming months would exacerbate the transport disruption in the nation and be the most recent in a string of walkouts that have stoked concerns about a “summer of discontent.”
It will also draw attention to the fact that train drivers make an average pay of £59,000, with East Coast train drivers earning an average salary of £71,000 as well. The typical wage in the UK is £25,971.
In tandem with a similar vote by the TSSA union, which represents workers in stations and ticket offices, Aslef held a vote on industrial action.
The RMT went on strike last month, and the union threatened to organize additional walkouts later in the summer.
As a result, the country’s train network came to a complete stop.
In response to the dispute that severely hampered services, RMT members launched three strikes.
The union, Network Rail, and the train operators have been in talks, but no additional strikes have been called.
‘We went to the train operators, and they put on the table that nearly every rail worker will be re-contracted on a new contract of employment and a new set of terms and circumstances,’ Mr. Lynch said yesterday at the RMT’s annual convention in Birmingham.
Additionally, they plan to reinstate driver-only operated disputes in all railway operating companies.
That was something they directly told me. They claimed it was required of them by the Department of Transportation.
This is the most serious it can get, then. It is the battle of our age and lives.
The general secretary of the RMT criticized people who attribute the crisis in the cost of living to workers, contending that wage demands from trade unions were not to blame for inflation.
It is a fiction propagated by the establishment, he continued, that rising worker pay are to blame for inflation.
Inflation is brought on by the super-rich making profits and preserving their wealth.
We don’t have a wage price spiral, the trade unions’ job is to make sure salaries catch up because they are far behind prices.
The road network was severely congested yesterday as a result of demonstrators blocking cars and yelling over the skyrocketing cost of petrol.
As workers struggle to make ends meet on their present wage packages, soaring inflation is mostly blamed for the anger among union members.
The initial results from Aslef’s balloting of train drivers will be out next week.
“It will cause much greater disruption than in the past.” According to Mick Whelan, general secretary of the drivers’ union Aslef, “we don’t go on strike very often.”
Three companies’ employees have already approved strike action, and Whelan predicted that coordinated walkouts would take place.
In essence, this would result in the first nationwide drivers’ strike since 1995.
He added, “There will be a summer of disruption,” saying, “We feel [strikes] will have a significant effect.”
Employees at Aslef have been given the option of a 2 percent salary increase in addition to money saved from productivity improvements including altered shift schedules.
Whelan asserted that his members should receive a raise more in line with inflation, which is anticipated to reach 11% by October.
With ballot results from 10 train operators and Network Rail due in the following two weeks, the TSSA is also threatening legal action.
In a last week vote on industrial action related to a disagreement over wage, job security, and working conditions, Avanti West Coast employees voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of it.
Ministers were cautioned by Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, to “take note” of the workers’ choice to strike and that the outcome was “just the beginning.”
Despite Whelan’s denial that the three unions would coordinate their industrial action, several top rail officials are resigned to a summer of growing disruption due to the sheer volume of ballots distributed around the industry.
After criticizing the unions for upsetting people’s lives, the government is now proposing new “minimum service agreements,” which would require that a specific amount of services be provided in the case of a strike.
Grant Shapps, the transport minister, has also said he wants to introduce new legislation that would make it more difficult for unions to strike unless they strictly follow the language of their initial ballot.
The government issued a statement saying, “We want to see rail unions genuinely engage with their employers, but Aslef are first trying to make passengers’ lives worse by joining other groups in disrupting the rail network.”