Avanti West Coast railway staff vote for further strikes

There are new threats of more disruption from yet more strike action, as Business Editor Joel Hills explains

Unrest on the railways has spread.

Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) union who work for Avanti West Coast have voted to strike over pay and conditions.

Avanti operates the service between London Euston and Glasgow which runs through cities like Preston, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Birmingham is due to host the Commonwealth Games later in July.

The union balloted just over 200 staff and 66.3% voted. Of those, 86.1% voted in favour of strike action.

It’s a small ballot but it’s the first of 12 the union is running at Network Rail and 10 other train operating companies. We’ll get the results back over the next two weeks.

There are no strike dates yet but the union’s general secretary, Manuel Cortes, has previously said he will consider co-ordinating action with the RMT. The TSSA has also suggested it will target the Commonwealth Games.

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Like the RMT, the TSSA wants “a fair pay rise” and the guarantee of no-compulsory redundancies as the railways are reformed.

On Wednesday night, a spokesperson for Avanti said: “We’re disappointed the TSSA union called this ballot, which we think is premature, and we remain open to talks with them.

"The industry is focussed on securing a thriving future for rail which adapts to new travel patterns and takes no more than its fair share from taxpayers.”

They added: “The impact of any TSSA action will be extremely limited”.

Last week, Avanti had to cancel 75% of its timetable on the days the RMT’s members went on strike.

The RMT represents 40,000 railway workers. TSSA represents 15,000.