19 May 2015
Network Rail is threatening legal action to evade next week’s national rail strikes, by claiming there were “defects” in the ballot.
The alleged “defects” are duplications, and inaccuracies in the types of work and locations of staff who voted.
TSSA, RMT and Unite are involved in the dispute with Network Rail over a four-year pay deal that would freeze wage increases at the rate of inflation and enable possible layoffs after 2016. RMT, who have almost 16,000 Network Rail members, initiated the strike which is set to take place at 5pm on bank holiday Monday 25 May.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, who have 3,000 members working for Network Rail, said: “We are frankly puzzled as to why Network Rail are taking this legal route whilst talks continue today at Acas to solve this dispute and avert next week’s strike action.
“They seem more determined to impress [transport secretary] Patrick McLoughlin and the Tories than making a serious attempt to resolve this pay row and ensure that the trains run on time over the bank holiday. We want to settle this around the negotiating table, not in the high court.”
The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “It is highly damaging that instead of focusing on the talks process Network Rail have opted instead to threaten a dash to the courts to challenge the democratic decision of rail worker members of one of our sister unions.
“RMT will not allow this legal manoeuvring to cloud the real issues in this dispute over jobs, safety and pay justice. RMT will continue to engage in talks while we also finalise the preparations for our national industrial action.“