February 22, 2008 by welshcyclist
I knew it was coming, and now it’s definitely hit me, a really bad cough and cold. Only a few weeks ago, I had the audacity, to suggest, that since I’d been cycling, colds etc., were a thing of the past, well not so, because I feel dreadful. The consequence is, no cycling today, it’s damp, cold with an above average breeze. I feel so tired, I tossed and turned all night, coughing and spluttering, tried to sleep in Tierloch’s room, he’s in Benidorm, lucky boy, so I wouldn’t disturb the rest of the household.
Been sat at the computer here, for most of the day, and just feel so listless. It seems there’s no overtime next week, so I’m off until a week Sunday. There’s alot brewing at work, I’ve had emails, from my union, telling me that my colleagues in Lincoln are on strike tomorrow, and the following Saturday, on top of that the union will be balloting, the whole of the Northeast area for strike action. We already are in the process of a referdum on this years pay offer, with the union proposing we reject it, also the company, Network Rail, is trying to push through a new pension scheme, with no consultation at all with the union. We are certainly going to have a battle on our hands, we can’t give in, whether or not the union members have the stomach for the fight is another matter. Everyone, these days is committed to mortgage payments and the like, so to lose pay while on strike, is a big issue.
The truth of the matter is quite simple, if we fold on these issues, it will be a steep downward spiral, to conditions of service on the railway, undreamt of in over 100 years. But that is the aim of the company, and also the government, to force wages, pensions etc., down. The media will take the side of Network Rail, because currently we signallers are paid well, but if we let these matters go, without a fight, not only our pay will take a steep drop, but our pensions also, will not be adequate. I’ve been in the pension scheme for 16 years, it has already been split into two parts of differing scales, to all members detriment, but the company’s imposition of a “Career Average Pension” will decimate it.
Realistically, it will depend on how many union members, will directly be affected by these moves, sadly “the I’m alright Jack” attitude, is to be seen everywhere these days, it will be a major test of loyalty to both the union and ones colleagues.
But it’s on it’s way and with an ever-increasing pace.