Rail union loses 33% of members

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The Independent Online
MEMBERSHIP of the biggest rail-industry union has slumped by more than 20,000 in a year, writes Barrie Clement.

That represents a drop of about one-third since British Rail stopped deducting union contributions out of wages, in retaliation for two 24-hour stoppages last spring.

Nearly 45,500 voting forms have been sent to members of the RMT transport union in a strike ballot over the promotion and transfer of employees between 'shadow' companies created to run the railways in preparation for privatisation - which ends today. Last year's industrial action was preceded by a vote involving 68,000 railway workers.

Management sources said last night that about 2,000 RMT members had left the industry since then, leaving about 20,000 employees who are no longer in the union. Under recent law, unions are duty-bound to tell employers who they are balloting.