Strike suspended but no trains anyway
Late this afternoon the RMT Union announced a suspension of strike action planned for 5, 7 and 9 November. The RMT explained the decision as follows: “Through a strong industrial campaign so far, RMT has secured unconditional talks on Network Rail. There is also the promise of an offer from the train operating companies who up until this point, have made no offer of any kind to our members.“
The Union explain that originally Network Rail had declared discussions and consultations closed. That they were intent on imposing changes to maintenance procedures without agreement with RMT. The RMT say the new position is that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” That they say, takes away the reason for the current phase of action. Talks will now continue without pre-conditions.
The Union added that the current dispute remains very much live. They will continue to re-ballot members to secure a fresh mandate for action. The result of that ballot is due on 15th November.
However reacting to the news the train company GWR have said all service cancellations will continue as planned. GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “Unfortunately, with less than 12 hours’ notice before the strike was due to start, it is too late to restore normal timetables and spare customers from disruption tomorrow and the early part of next week. Our advice remains to only travel by rail if necessary.”
The Leveller says:
The logic is undeniable for services planned for tomorrow (5 November). However it is surely nonsense to apply that to 7 and 9 November. The train companies do not have to reinvent the wheel, merely get rolling stock in the right place and restore a timetable, that is identical to the timetable they usually run. If a train company cannot restore normal services to its network with 3 days notice, should it be a train company?
Why did the train companies leave it so late before agreeing to talks? They have only themselves to blame for leaving themselves no time to restore services.