Strike action at Wabtec avoided

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Hundreds of workers at railway engineering company Wabtec have called off industrial action at the 11th hour after crisis talks with bosses.

Scores of Rail Maritime and Transport rail engineering staff and hundreds affiliated to the Unite union were due to strike for five days next week.

Following a massive yes vote for action employees voted to strike from 12.01am on Monday to midnight on Friday in a fight over pay and conditions.

But union representatives said they would now ballot their members with recommendation to accept an improved deal after bosses called for an avoidance and dispute meeting. The results of the ballot are expected in early to mid-January.

Wabtec is a huge American-based company, with its Doncaster site on the famous former British Rail Engineering depot in Hexthorpe Road, and specialises in the maintenance, overhaul and refurbishment of rail fleet.

Unite regional officer, Kelvin Mawer, said: “Both RMT and ourselves voted by 91 percent to strike. However, the company called us in on Tuesday (December 9) and we have suspended action pending consultation with our members and a ballot on the new offer.”

RMT regional organiser for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Dave Collinson, added: “Following the meeting with bosses and the works committee we now feel we have an offer that’s acceptable to our members. Both unions and the works committee are recommending one of two options, that we can’t reveal yet.”

RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “RMT members at Wabtec do essential work and, at the very least, what they should expect is a pay rise that reflects their commitment to the company. After all, it is the staff that generate the company profits for this large American engineering outfit.”

“RMT remains available for talks and we are in no doubt that the determination of our members will remain rock solid as they battle for a fair deal.”