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Posted on 16 December 2009 at 14:30 GMT

Wales: Rail signallers strike against management dictation

Cardiff

There are 17 signalmen at the Cardiff box. Eleven of them started picketing first thing this morning (14 December). They were then joined by two coming off night shift, bringing the total to 13 of the 17 members of the workforce on the picket line.

The strike by Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members involves Newport, Cardiff, Port Talbot and their associated valleys. It has been called because management are attempting to change the workers' terms and conditions without negotiations. Rosters are under attack and management's plan is to change from 12 hour to 8 hour contracts - which in the long term, could affect numbers employed.

"We're here because management are going for Newport", Cardiff pickets told The Socialist. "The situation doesn't affect us yet. You've got to support them. It's the only way - and if we don't stop this, they will come for us later."

Reporters from RMT News - the union's journal - came down the picket line to take pictures. They told The Socialist: "These men stand to lose 600 for a week's strike action - just before Christmas, as well. The RMT is the fastest growing union and you can see why."

Newport

Striking signals workers were out in force today (16 December) at the picket outside the Newport panel on day three of the six day strike against management imposing new rosters.

Spirits were high as RMT general secretary, Bob Crow, visited the picket line. Management from all over the country as far away as Kent have been brought in to break the strike, but the strike began to bite today with service cancellations on Valley lines.

Yesterday, services were cancelled on the South Wales mainline when Permanent Way workers worked to rule in repairing a broken cable.

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