By a RMT member
The RMT is holding talks with bosses at Network Rail in their dispute over pay and the closure of the pension scheme to new workers. Both signal and infrastructure staff. have been offered the reinstatement of their Christmas bonus (£35) which they lost last year, a 25% discount on season tickets for work related travel and a Joint Working Party (talks) on pensions.
If any action is taken, it will effectively boil down to a one day strike with no indication of what would follow. On a strike day the action will be called in 4 hour "windows" and there will be three of these windows to cover all shift workers. As it is certain that Network Rail will dock a whole days pay, strikers may as well just strike for the whole day.
A one day strike would allow us to gauge our strength and hopefully step up the dispute after that. It is imperative that we get as much solidarity action as possible on the railway. The union should call on all those workers who rely on signallers for their safety, essentially traincrew and track workers, to refuse to work on the grounds of health and safety and for all other railworkers to not work rest days in solidarity with the strikers. This will be classed as a call for unofficial industrial action but we should test the reaction to it.
If the national union won't coordinate such activity then it is time for the rank-and-file to get more organised on the railway.
The union nationally has taken a decision to set up regional dispute committees to coordinate any action in the localities. This is good but it can't just be the usual activists, or the regional organiser having the final say.
If it comes to strike action, then we should set up strike support groups. Their appeal to the general public could be on the basis of the strike being over a defence of a pension scheme. If we can stop the closure happening to us, maybe it will put off other employers who want to close yours.