More railway workers vote to strike: Staff at Govia Thameslink join RMT industrial dispute as threat of more travel chaos looms
- Staff at Govia Thameslink did not take part in the first wave of industrial action
- Members voted in favour of action but not enough people took part in the ballot
- A new vote of members showed an 80% from the 57.5% turnout supported action
- No dates for further industrial action have yet been announced by the unions
More railway workers have voted to strike in the bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, increasing the threat of travel disruption this summer.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) were originally balloted as part of the national rail dispute along with 13 other train operating companies in May.
Despite voting yes, there was insufficient numbers to allow them to legally take part in the three days of strike action last month.
A new ballot showed an 80 per cent vote in favour of strikes on a turnout of 57.5 per cent, which meets the legal threshold.
The RMT said more than 2,000 GTR staff will now take part in any future strikes.
Some 2,000 workers at Govia Thameslink will take part at the next RMT rail strikes following a successful ballot for industrial action
The RMT last month caused major disruption to Britain’s rail network following industrial action
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch, pictured, described the current dispute as a ‘fight of a lifetime’
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch: ‘This fantastic result is a credit to our elected officers and lay activists who worked around the clock to deliver this emphatic result.
‘Our members were denied their democratic right to strike due to draconian ballot thresholds but having smashed through those at the second time of asking, they are raring to join our campaign.
‘GTR staff are now able to join our fight and have a legal mandate to take action in the future, to get a negotiated settlement on pay, job security and working conditions.
‘We will continue our negotiations next week with Network Rail and the train operating companies with a view to getting our members a just deal.
‘We cannot rule out further strikes and we are focused on winning this dispute and coming to an agreement with rail bosses that gives our members what they need.’
Mr Lynch said he welcomed Aslef and TSSA balloting their members for strike action in the same dispute, adding: ‘If rail unions stay united in our common struggle for pay justice, job security and decent working conditions, we cannot and will not be defeated.’
GTR runs Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express services.
Earlier rail workers from LNER and c2c have voted to strike over pay – joining CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway and Avanti West Coast staff who have also decided to take action, as the threat of a summer of travel chaos increases.
The action on dates to be announced will impact LNER services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Peterborough and York, and c2c trains which run between Shoeburyness in Essex and London Fenchurch Street.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) announced the results of three ballots today – including one on Northern which did not result in a strike. It follows recent votes for strikes at CrossCountry and East Midlands.
Mr Lynch has previously described the national rail dispute as the fight of our lifetime’.
Last month, the RMT held three strikes which caused disruption over the course of a week.
He told delegates at the RMT’s annual meeting in Birmingham: ‘They are trying to cut thousands of jobs and they have no scruples in cutting back on safety regimes in order to do so.
‘They are seeking to rip up working practices and conditions, agreements that protect our members and in doing so they will drive up unsocial hours, work fatigue and occupational ill-health.
‘And they are seeking to make our members poor with below-inflation pay offers which do not take into account the cost-of-living crisis.
‘Since that strike action, which was fantastic, they have not diluted their stance. At Network Rail they are ramping up their demands.
‘We went to the train operators, and they put on the table that virtually every rail worker would be re-contracted on a new contract of employment and a new set of terms and conditions.
‘And they are going to bring back the driver only operated disputes in every single train operating company. They have told me that face to face. They said it was their mandate from the Department for Transport.
‘So, this is as serious as it gets. It is the fight of our lifetime and of our generation.’
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