A national rail strike looms this week as one of the leading rail workers’ unions is warning it may urge its members to pause work over job cuts.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said rail workers faced losing their jobs this year just as the cost of living crisis spirals.
The union is calling for an extension to a no compulsory redundancy agreement to safeguard employment for those wishing to stay in the rail industry and warned that a national rail strike in 2022 was “very much on the cards”.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Our union has been crystal clear that any threat to use compulsory redundancies will be met with industrial action ballots.
“We wrote to rail bosses in November 2021 seeking assurances that the industry-wide no compulsory redundancy policy would continue to remain in place throughout 2022. Sadly, a new year has arrived and we are still waiting for the bosses to meet our union’s job security ask.
“We have been told that although thousands of people will be leaving employment within our rail industry during 2022 through voluntary severance, that this won’t be enough to deliver the £2 billion worth of cuts the Government is seeking.
“Our members are not just facing a cost-of-living crisis but also one of fractured industrial relations on our railways as the twin threats of compulsory redundancies and falling living standards loom large.
“We will of course seek to coordinate any industrial action with our sister rail unions and any other workers fighting the Tories’ cost of living standards crisis.
“A national rail strike in 2022 is very much on the cards.”TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group said: “Britain’s railway and rail workers continue to play a critical role during the pandemic and we thank them for their huge contribution.
“Like any industry hit by the pandemic we face tough financial challenges – money from fares has decreased by 80% from over £10bn to £2bn and the government is providing at least £24bn by 2025.
“To build back a railway which puts the needs of our changing passenger first, it is necessary to change the way the network is run and the rail network cannot take more than its fair share from the public purse.
“Rail companies want to work constructively with trade unions to ensure the railway is fit for the years and decades to come, delivers a genuinely improved passenger experience and which supports all parts of the country to thrive as we rebuild.”