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Fresh rail disruption threatened after railway workers back strikes

Liverpool’s Lime Street Station(Peter Byrne/PA)
Liverpool’s Lime Street Station(Peter Byrne/PA)

More railway workers have voted to strike over pay, jobs and conditions, threatening fresh disruption over the summer.

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said its members at Avanti West Coast voted overwhelmingly for strikes and action short of a strike.

The union is also balloting members at Network Rail and several train companies across England.

TSSA members work at stations along the West Coast Mainline.

They voted by 86% in favour of striking on a turnout of 66% and by 91% for other forms of industrial action.

Glasgow Central Station (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Glasgow Central Station (Andrew Milligan/PA)

TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes said: “The overwhelming votes among station staff for strike action and action short of a strike demonstrate that our members are determined to fight for their pay, jobs and conditions.

“They are right to do so amid the escalating cost of living crisis and with a government hell bent on making swingeing cuts to our rail network.

“This is a strong outcome and one the company can ill afford to ignore.

“We will now speak to our workplace reps and consider next steps in the forthcoming days.

“Ministers should take note, the ballot result at Avanti is only the beginning.

“Our union is balloting members across almost another dozen train companies and Network Rail.

“If they had any sense they would come to the table and sort this out, so we have a fair settlement for workers who were hailed as heroes in the pandemic.”

Rail services were crippled last week when members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union staged a series of strikes.

A spokesperson for Avanti West Coast said: “We’re disappointed the TSSA union called this ballot, which we think is premature, and we remain open to talks with them.

“The industry is focussed on securing a thriving future for rail which adapts to new travel patterns and takes no more than its fair share from taxpayers.

“The impact of any TSSA action will be extremely limited and we do not expect our services to be materially affected.”