UK: Signallers to Strike in Staff Promotion Battle

Train signallers will stage two 24-hour strikes later this month due to an ongoing row over whether staff are promoted according to seniority or merit.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) announced the strikes to be held on Monday, January 23, and Friday, January 27, at the west of Scotland signalling centre, which is responsible for operating services from Glasgow Central Station around one-fifth of those in Scotland.

The union claimed it had rock solid support during a 72-hour strike that affected some services on Boxing Day. However, Network Rail, which is responsible for signalling, said 95% of services had operated as normal and it was confident of running a comprehensive service during the next two walkouts.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, said: RMT has tried to reach a negotiated settlement to this unilateral ripping-up of a local arrangement, but unfortunately the management has refused to see sense and has failed to engage with us at all since the strike action over Christmas.

RMT members will not stand by while management unilaterally rips up agreements and practices that have been in place at local level for decades.

The dispute affects 32 staff working at the west of Scotland signalling centre, which was built in 2008 with investment of £20 million, and concerns a practice dating back to the 1970s known as slotting in , in which the most senior member of staff is automatically appointed to any vacant position.

Network Rail has claimed the slotting-in system is outdated and staff should be appointed on merit.

A spokesman said a stumbling block in negotiations with the union has been that it would have to sack a signal worker who was appointed as he was considered the best candidate.

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