Northern Rail staff vote for strike over contracts

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Railway workers have voted in favour of strike action over the use of casual staff by Northern Rail.

The RMT union claims the company is using agency staff to check tickets at stations when it should give the work to its own employees.

The union said it hoped the company would now enter "meaningful" talks.

Northern Rail said it would seek to minimise disruption for customers if strike action went ahead.

The RMT said using casual, agency staff undermined the job security, pay and working conditions of its members.

'Exploited' workforce

General secretary Bob Crow said: "The union's executive will now consider this result but RMT's core demand could not be clearer: an immediate end to Northern Rail casualising the workforce.

"If there is work that needs doing, it should be done by permanently employed staff on decent pay and conditions, including the current agency staff,"

He said the work should not be done by "an exploited, short-term workforce, paid a pittance and denied the most basic of workplace benefits and who can be hired and fired at will in the name of pumping up profits".

Northern Rail said it had contracted work out to one company for 13 years and to another since 2012. It said the union was effectively asking it to "put people out of work".

Spokesman Adrian Thompson said: "The RMT Executive has said it is now considering the result. We will update customers on strike action as soon as we have any further information."

The earliest date a strike could take place is the next bank holiday, Monday 27 May.

Northern Rail serves many cities, including Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, York, Carlisle and Newcastle.

About 2,000 of its 4,900 employees are members of the RMT.

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