A national ballot will take place on Thursday of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) members on Network Rail and train operating companies over a substantial pay increase and guarantees against compulsory redundancies.
Steve Shaw, Wigan RMT branch secretary and member of the RMT national executive committee, said: “Throughout the pandemic RMT members worked on the frontline keeping passengers, goods and key workers moving. Neither the economy nor the railway could have functioned during the pandemic without the tireless effort and hard work of our members in Wigan and elsewhere. It’s time the Government and the industry recognised our achievements over these past two years and gave us credit where credit is due.
“We have been trying to negotiate with these companies, but they have continually ignored our representations. The ballot next Thursday has been forced upon us and I’m asking all of our members to give our union a resounding ‘yes’ vote so we can force the industry to the negotiation table and secure decent pay and conditions and a secure future for all railway workers.”
Mary Callaghan, president of Wigan Trades Council, added: “Government and industry argue that inflation rates that are forcing families into crisis are out of their hands, that energy costs are rising across the world, that the war in Ukraine impacts all economies, and we should all bear the brunt of the crisis. Yet these industries continue to pay out dividends to shareholders in the sums of billions of pounds and continue to pay their senior managements vast amounts of money.
"So while workers in Wigan and elsewhere are asked to tighten their belts, shareholders and owners of industry have iron-clad protection. Our affiliated members on the railways are in the forefront of a struggle to turn this around. If industries like the railways cannot function without heaping pain on their workforces, then they should be nationalised.”
RMT members can contact the union before the ballot if there have been any changes to their membership details on 0800 376 3706.