Employees at Chiltern Railways, Northern Trains and Transpennine Specific say they may stroll out in a dispute over pay however no dates have been set.
A sequence of large-scale rail strikes have already occurred this summer season, inflicting disruption for tens of millions.
“Strikes are all the time the final resort, however you possibly can see from the votes and turnout simply how indignant our members are,” mentioned prepare drivers’ union Aslef.
Mick Whelan, normal secretary of Aslef, added that prepare firms wanted to come back up “with a correct proposal… to stop one other strike and all of the disruption that causes”.
A spokesperson for the Rail Supply Group, which represents prepare operators, mentioned: “We need to give our individuals a pay rise, however to fund it unions should recognise that as an trade that has misplaced 20% of its income, we will both adapt or decline.
“As an alternative of inflicting additional disruption to passengers and companies, we urge the Aslef management to proceed talks so we will change our providers to satisfy new journey patterns, enhance punctuality and safe a brilliant, long-term future for our individuals.”
Drivers at 12 UK prepare operators now have mandates to strike, elevating the prospect of the most important walkout but.
What prepare strikes have already occurred?
The strikes already held this summer season have notably affected commuters who can’t work at home and many individuals travelling for leisure throughout the college summer season holidays.
Prepare drivers from the Aslef union staged walkouts at 9 operators on Saturday 13 August, and at seven a fortnight earlier.
Individually, about 40,000 members of the Nationwide Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Employees (RMT) walked out on three days in late June, with 13 prepare firms and monitor operator Community Rail affected. They work in roles together with guards, cleaners and upkeep staff.
This was described as the most important rail strike in three a long time. The involvement of Community Rail’s signalling workers throughout Britain meant half the railway was fully closed and a few areas had been affected although their native prepare operator was indirectly concerned.
Comparable RMT strikes passed off on 27 July, 18 and 20 August, this time involving workers at 14 prepare firms and Community Rail.
On 18 and 20 August, workers within the TSSA union walked out too, describing it as the primary day of nationwide, multi-operator strike motion by its members in a era.
A really small quantity within the Unite union additionally took half in a strike.
No extra strikes by the RMT or TSSA are presently scheduled.
Will there be extra strikes?
All sides say they don’t need extra, however they may occur if negotiations don’t produce a breakthrough. Unions have to present two weeks’ discover of motion.
These days, the tone of interviews has steered important disagreements stay.
The RMT’s Mick Lynch mentioned talks would proceed this week to hunt an answer, earlier than a call was taken on whether or not to launch additional industrial motion. However he mentioned it was “very doubtless” given the space between the 2 sides.
Drivers’ union Aslef solely not too long ago began official talks with the Rail Supply Group.
Negotiations can be complicated as a result of they then have to speak to the person prepare operators. Aslef’s Basic Secretary Mick Whelan has mentioned it’s not a one-size-fits-all course of.
On Thursday he added: “We’re calling on the businesses to come back to the desk with a correct proposal to assist our members, their drivers, purchase this 12 months what they may purchase final 12 months. That’s the technique to stop one other strike and all of the disruption that causes.”
Unions have repeatedly known as on the transport secretary to intervene, arguing he’s blocking progress and may give employers the pliability to make a proposal that they will settle for.
In an interview with me in late June, Grant Shapps acknowledged the federal government set the mandate for negotiations, and had closing sign-off on what was agreed in them.
Nevertheless, he mentioned it was not his place to get instantly concerned, it was for unions and employers to unravel the dispute between them.
What’s all of it about?
Rail bosses say they need to give staff a pay rise. However they and the federal government insist modifications are wanted to “modernise” the railway, finish some outdated working practices and lower your expenses.
They argue that with passenger income decrease than earlier than the pandemic, and after billions of public cash saved providers going, neither taxpayers nor passengers ought to should pay extra to cowl the funding hole. So greater wages should be funded by reforms.
Nevertheless, unions say staff want a pay rise that displays the rising value of residing. They spotlight the RPI measure of inflation is presently over 12%.
Additionally they insist job safety, phrases and dealing circumstances should not be sacrificed below any modifications – a few of which they strongly disagree with.
One group of greater than 3,000 managers within the TSSA union have voted to simply accept a pay provide from Community Rail, which runs and maintains the infrastructure.
The federal government and Community Rail have known as for different teams of staff to have the ability to vote on an analogous provide. That was for a 4% pay rise within the first 12 months and 4% within the second – which Community Rail describes as an 8% deal over two years.
There would even be a assure of no obligatory redundancies throughout that point, and advantages corresponding to discounted rail journey for household. Nevertheless a part of the second 12 months’s enhance can be conditional on reforms.
Unions level out the provide remains to be beneath inflation – RMT Basic Secretary Mick Lynch has known as it “puny” – and say they’re not in opposition to modernising, however they’ve issues over the impression some modifications may have on security.
Plus, that supply is from Community Rail and never the prepare operators – so it solely applies to about half the employees who took half within the nationwide strikes.
Issues aren’t as far superior in negotiations between the prepare firms and the RMT, though discussions proceed. The one potential pay rise that’s been talked about since June has been 2% plus 1% conditional on reforms.
One other bone of rivalry between Community Rail and the RMT has been modifications to the way in which upkeep groups work.
This might contain job losses which Community Rail hopes could possibly be achieved voluntarily. It has began a proper session designed to push by the modifications whether or not or not the union agrees.
The RMT and TSSA are additionally campaigning in opposition to plans to shut most ticket workplaces.
The Rail Supply Group insists no choices have been taken, they usually’re chatting with the unions about shifting members of workers out from behind glass home windows into the general public space to supply face-to-face help.
It additionally says there’s been an enormous drop within the variety of passengers utilizing ticket workplaces previously decade.