It was odd to find that management had pulled the plug on harmonisation with a ridiculous excuse about cost. They have been costing this since the start and only now declare £24 million to be too expensive.
After a massive rejection of the proposed conditions, which could only be described as derisory, the only conclusion is that it was always intended to not harmonise at all.
The obvious advantages of harmonisation for the union are one set of pay and conditions which all the members could unite around. The advantages of harmonisation for management were always harder to fathom.There are some reasons for management to want harmonisation ie: ability to send staff from one area to another and keep staff in event of over run of possession but these seem minor compared with the cost. After the debacles of Christmas and Easter, the pool of 'professional' railworkers needs to be available at all times, that is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in all parts of the country, without the right to refuse.
This still leaves us with a massive range of conditions up and down the country and a head of steam amongst the members for change for the better, not just with the members suffering under the present terms , but also with other members who can see the injustice of low pay and anti-social conditions. The union needs to capitalise on this and the sooner the better.
We now have a mandate for strike action from a national ballot over over 12,000 infrastructure workers. Let’s use it!