Network Rail is assuring passengers that strike action, scheduled to take place in south Wales next week, will have minimal effect on rail services. The busy south Wales main line will remain open for business and train services will run as normal on the six days.
Chris Rayner, route director for Network Rail, said: “We will not allow this unnecessary strike to cause major disruption to passengers. We have a tried and tested contingency plan in place. Trained staff will be standing in for strikers, so that passenger services run pretty much as normal. Safety will not be compromised – either in the arrangements for covering the strike or as part of the proposed roster that enables signallers to work shorter hours. We’re also providing support for any signallers who want to work.
“Our doors remain open to discussion and we urge the unions to meet us to find a sensible solution. This strike is a pointless distraction from giving the service that passengers want and is also hitting our people in their pocket just before Christmas. RMT needs to recognise economic reality and bring itself into the modern world of work.”
Network Rail staff, who have rallied round to lend their support, are qualified and experienced signallers.
They have had additional training and are fully competent and able to carry out the task of signalling operation for the six days.
The action is in response to a consultation by Network Rail about improving roster hours to eight hours, providing more productive hours for employees.
Half the signallers working in south Wales are already on the new roster.
The new practice is compliant to the national rostering principles, agreed by the unions in 2003.