Ticketing staff will vote on an 8% pay deal in a rift with other rail workers that risks undermining union calls for a general strike.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) will allow 2,000 of its members to vote on the two-year pay deal, in a blow to the union’s staunch ally, the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT).
Although the TSSA does not support Network Rail’s offer, this decision differs from the approach taken by the RMT, which refused to offer the deal to its members.
The split threatens to destroy RMT calls for a general strike and suggests some union leaders may come under pressure over lost pay amid ‘summer of discontent’.
The union told its members: ‘We are sharing the latest offer in full with members so you can have an opinion and have a say in your pay.
An electronic referendum will be emailed to all members today. The referendum will close at noon on Thursday 4 August.
The announcement marks a change in tone from the TSSA. Mr Cortes promised to launch an “unprecedented” disruption over the summer earlier this year.
At the time, he said: “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it since the general strike of 1926. That was the last time the three unions went out together.
“And we will coordinate our action. It will undoubtedly be a summer of discontent.
“If that happens, I will have a strategy in place that will cause as much disruption as possible.”
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, on Wednesday attacked Liz Truss’ plans to prevent “militant action” from crippling the economy. The Conservative leadership candidate said new laws would be introduced to generalize the power of unions.
Mr Lynch said ‘coordinated and synchronized industrial action’ would be needed if legislation was introduced.
A general strike can only be called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) if a “substantial” number of workers from different sectors refuse to come to work until demands for changes in wages and working conditions are met. satisfied.
He told the i newspaper: ‘There are a whole series of measures that she (Ms Truss) is looking to put in place which will make it virtually impossible to have effective trade unionism and we believe they would effectively prohibit collective action .
“I think it’s a far-right turn on the part of the Conservatives, and they’re playing with their reactionary base. I think there will be a huge response from the labor movement.
“Only the TUC can call for a general strike, we will campaign for it, but we need coordinated and synchronized industrial action against what they are proposing.
“I would seek a general strike if we could get it, but that’s up to others to decide. We are a small union compared to the others. So we’ll have to see where that leads.
Meanwhile, Network Rail has started legal proceedings to force changes to working practices without the consent of the union.
A formal consultation has been launched to make sweeping reforms after weeks of RMT talks yielded no results.
Around 1,900 people will also be made redundant. Network Rail said it did not expect to have to make any mandatory redundancies.
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said: “We have not given up on finding a negotiated solution. We made a good salary offer and our door remains open, but we cannot continue to run on the same ground day after day, week after week and not move forward.
“These reforms are too important, especially since we started these conversations 18 months ago. It is essential that we advance our modernization plans to help put our railway on a sustainable financial footing for the future.
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