27 February 2014
A 48 hour strike involving RMT Northern Rail maintenance driver members at Heaton (Newcastle) and Neville Hill (Leeds) Traincare Depots, which started yesterday evening, is rock solid this morning in a dispute over a re-grading exercise which has failed to recognise the complex and demanding role of this key group of staff and which has ignored the skills and hard work that they bring to the company.
Picket lines have been out in force at both depots and the workers have pulled in support from across the trade union and labour movement in both areas as they draw attention to the fact that the re-grading has also completely missed the fact that the staff involved are actually handling a wider and more diverse range of vehicles as a result of changes in the industry which should have been a major factor in any serious evaluation of their work.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The rock solid action by this group of key Northern Rail staff shows that they are united and determined to win justice over this botched and mismanaged re-grading exercise.
“RMT firmly believe that the company has been disingenuous in their approach to this re-grading by failing to recognise the multiple skills and the hard work that this group of maintenance depot drivers bring to the Northern Rail operation.
“The union is clear that the job is complex and demanding, and that now is the time for the company to acknowledge that Maintenance Depot Drivers should be re-graded accordingly in recognition of their role and responsibilities.
“With the 48 hour strike, which will be followed by an overtime ban, absolutely rock solid at both depots the Northern Rail management must step forward and engage in serious talks aimed at rectifying this gross injustice.”