Letter: Why I'm on strike: a signalman accuses Railtrack of shoddy treatment

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The Independent Online
Sir: For over a decade I sat on the employer's side of the national joint negotiating committee for the tobacco industry. I learnt that for negotiations to be successful, employers had to show the way by being open, direct and straightforward, eschewing deviousness and over-cleverness.

If we are to accept press reports, Railtrack made an offer, only to claim later that it was never really 'on the table'. Then it swore it had not been influenced by Government pressure. The Government supported this claim, only for the minister concerned to let the cat out of the bag by admitting that he had been keeping in touch with the Railtrack chairman.

Railtrack then made another offer. On the union pointing out that this would leave some of its members even worse off, the company pleaded that it had omitted two important clauses in its last offer. Next it tried to 'sidetrack' the union by dealing directly with the signalmen.

Can we be surprised that today there is a strike?

Yours faithfully,

TONY VAN DEN BERGH

London, NW3

19 July

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