THE threat of industrial action affecting Teesside looms once again.
Employees of Northern Rail have voted for industrial action over a number of points of dispute between their union and the company.
The union says it is seeking assurances from Northern Rail over jobs and services, but claims this has not been forthcoming.
The impasse got to a point where it decided to ballot its members, and the union says a walkout was backed by 80% of voters and other forms of industrial action by 90% The union says it will now consider its next course of action in the knowledge it has a mandate for a strike.
Clearly, this would be disruptive for people who rely on Northern Rail trains, and for businesses which rely on them to be at work on time.
No-one would deny any worker the right to take the ultimate action if there is a workplace dispute, but it is in the interests of everybody if the disagreement is resolved as soon as possible.
The threat of industrial action on the railways comes after a similar prospect in the steel industry nationally.
Hundreds of steel workers on Teesside could have walked out in a dispute over pensions, but a proposed strike was postponed when Tata Steel offered a new deal.
It is hoped the potential action within Northern Rail can also be rendered unnecessary through discussion between the two sides.
That would be the best outcome for all concerned - including its passengers.