Negotations between business leaders and unions are rarely cordial, but the gloves have really come off in the row over the rail workers' strike this weekend.
Network Rail has issued a legal challenge to the union calling for a strike over the bank holiday, claiming there are “numerous defects” in the ballot.
Talks are taking place this week to try and avert the strike, which could affect the UK's entire train network, causing travel chaos across the country over the long weekend of May 23rd to 30th.
From a turnout of 52 per cent of TSSA's 3,000 members, some 53 per cent voted in favour of strike action, while 79 per cent voted for action short of a strike.
Network Rail spokesperson said: “We have asked the TSSA to withdraw notice of their industrial action as we believe there are numerous defects in their ballot information.
“Network Rail has a responsibility to passengers, freight users and to the country as a whole to do everything we can to avert a strike.
“Talks with the unions continue and we hope to reach a settlement, but we must explore all avenues at our disposal and that includes legal ones.”
But union bosses have reacted angrily to the move, which they see as attempting to thwart last-ditch attempts to solve the dispute.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of TSSA, 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."
Network Rail are very wrong if they think they can resolve this dispute in the courts rather than by speaking to their own workforce— TSSA (@TSSAunion) May 19, 2015
Unite is also provisionally planning a ballot to take place on May 22, according to RMT Magazine.