Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), said strikes would continue into the summer if the dispute over wages and job losses was not resolved. There are growing fears that the strikes by railway workers could be part of a general strike, as nurses and teachers, among other workers, have threatened to protest their wages and working conditions with a strike .
Now the railway union is accused of striking over outdated practices and rules that have led to teams of up to nine workers undertaking simple tasks such as ‘changing a power socket’.
Rail industry sources on Tuesday revealed the various work practices that are needlessly costing taxpayers money and mean less resource efficiency in the industry.
Some of the things that have been called for include asking for a 12-minute ‘walking time allowance’ for a one-minute walk and expert teams not sharing vans.
Another claim was that engineers couldn’t go 500 yards from their designated area under these outdated rules and that’s what the strikes are forbidden to do.
A source said: “We cannot list individuals. Let’s say you want to replace a single socket with a double socket in your kitchen.
“Potentially you would need an electrician, a tiler and a plumber, as your dishwasher drain pipe will also need to be adjusted.
“Alternatively, you could find a competent little job to do all the work.”
The source continued: ‘In Network Rail we cannot list individuals, only crews and we cannot multi-task on those crews, so we would need to send a crew of three electricians, three tilers and three plumbers – nine people to do a job that one person could do.
However, Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said “low productivity” is embedded in the culture of the railways.
Mr Haines said: “We are such an archaic industry in many of our working practices.
“We can provide a good pay raise for our colleagues and good value for the taxpayer if only we can push through sensible reforms.”
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