More frustation

RMT rejects pay offer agreed by Aslef bosses

Waverley station passenger ticket gate
Passengers face more disruption on the rail network (pic: Terry Murden)

8pm UPDATE: Rail passengers are facing further disruption after RMT union bosses rejected the same improved 5% pay offer which the train drivers’ union is recommending its members accept.

Frustrated ScotRail managers said it was “astonishing” that the RMT did not plan to refer the offer and a series of benefits to its members and instead is threatening strike action.

The union’s company council rejected the improved offer over conditions on current and future technology. 

The RMT union is already threatening strike action across the UK after talks broke down with a number of operators and Network Rail.

The RMT’s rejection of ScotRail’s improved terms comes just hours after train drivers union Aslef said it will recommend the same deal to its members.

Phil Campbell, head of customer operations at ScotRail, said: “This is a really strong offer that recognises the cost-of-living challenges faced by families across the country and delivers good value for the public.

“It is astonishing that RMT officials have rejected this offer without even giving members a say through a referendum on the details of the offer. I know many staff share our frustration with the RMT.”

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Following talks with Aslef, ScotRail said the revised terms recognise the cost-of-living challenges faced by families and “delivers good value for the public”.

It will take drivers’ salaries to £55,264 and includes a commitment to bring Sundays into the working week and a five-year no compulsory redundancies agreement.

The likely settlement is expected to raise the bar for other public sector workers who will be arguing that the 2.2% ceiling should be raised to 5%.

GMB Scotland senior organiser Keir Greenaway said: “Credit to Aslef members for standing together and fighting for what they feel they are worth.

“Scottish Government Ministers can be assured that GMB members across local government are doing likewise to confront the cost-of-living crisis and to make work better.

“Today’s developments certainly demonstrate the paltry 2% offer currently on the table from COSLA, a figure worth less than a tenner a week extra for staff earning under £25,000 a year, is neither credible nor acceptable.

“It’s clear the only language our political leaders understand is action. That’s why we are recommending our members vote yes for strikes in our local government ballot.”

ScotRail’s improved offer to Aslef includes:

  • An increase in basic pay. This is broken down as a 2.2% increase to recognise the cost-of-living challenges (funded by Transport Scotland), and a further 2.8% increase (to be funded by ScotRail), which recognises and rewards the flexibility of rostering arrangements as ScotRail responds to changes in our markets as we emerge from the pandemic.
  • An excess revenue share premium, which rewards all colleagues where ScotRail exceeds revenue budget targets. This scheme will also be backdated to 1 April 2022. Backdating to 1 April means staff would already have earned two periods of revenue share as we exceeded targets for those periods – this is £390 (less tax and NI contributions). If this paid out in full, it would be worth an additional £2,535 for every member of staff.
  • A five-year commitment to a no-compulsory redundancy agreement.
  • A commitment to bring Sundays into the working week within a five-year period with full implementation by the 2027 December timetable. This would require review of terms and conditions with trade union colleagues. A joint working party would be formed to enable all staff to feed in views and at the end staff will have a say on next steps.
  • An improvement in maternity and adoption leave payments comprising of: 13 weeks standard pay, then 13 weeks at 50 per cent standard pay, then 13 weeks at statutory maternity pay.
  • Sunday working allowance (SWA) increased by 10%.
  • An increase in rest-day working payments to £400, with the agreement extended to March 2023 to support the driver training programme.
  • An uplift of £500 per year to driver instructor allowance.

Under this offer, basic pay for drivers (excluding trainees and those who are newly qualified) would increase by more than £2,600, taking the salary to £55,264.

The offer to RMT members is broadly similar.

Commenting on the outcome of talks with Aslef, David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “We’ve made a really good offer which recognises the cost-of-living challenges faced by families across the country and delivers good value for the public.

“The feedback we’ve had from many drivers is that they recognise we have made a series of very good offers and we are pleased they will get a say in a referendum.

“The railway plays a vital role in growing the economy and connecting communities. Now more than ever we all need to work together to attract more people to the railway as we recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

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