A high court judge has in the last hour granted a temporary injunction to Network Rail to stop the strike by signal workers for 4 days next week in a result reminiscent of British Airways’ tactics in their dispute with Unite. Network Rail claimed that there were indiscrepencies in the way that the union ballot for the strike was held and was therefore unlawful.

The irregularities in the vote were said to be:

• balloting 11 signal boxes that have been closed for years

• recording more votes than employees in 67 locations

• failing to ballot 26 workplaces involving 100 staff

• balloting 12 locations where staff were ineligible to vote.

This does not affect the strike by maintenance workers also planned for next week, however this will only cause minor disruption in comparison to what was expected if both strikes went ahead.

The union will now re-ballot its members. RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said in response to the injunction: “This judgment is an attack on the whole trade union movement and twists the anti-union laws even further in favour of the bosses. Workers fighting for the principle of a safe railway have had the whole weight of the law thrown against them.”

A relief to travellers next week, however if the ballot is returned for another strike there is disruption yet to come.