Dispute goes on

RMT leaders reject latest offer to end rail strikes

Mick Lynch RMT
Mick Lynch: offer does not meet our criteria

Union leaders have rejected an offer from train operators aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

A possible breakthrough was announced tonight after train operating companies offered the RMT union an 8% pay rise for the next two years in exchange for a series of reforms to working practices.

The proposal includes guarantees no compulsory redundancies until 1 April 2024.

A spokesperson from the Rail Delivery Group, said: “This is a fair and affordable offer in challenging times, providing a significant uplift in salary for staff. “

But RMT leaders took just an hour to reject the package and the walk outs from 13 December will go ahead as planned.

The RMT said: “The RDG is offering 4% in 2022 and 2023 which is conditional on RMT members accepting vast changes to working practices, huge job losses, Driver Only Operated (DOO) trains on all companies and the closure of all ticket offices.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We have rejected this offer as it does not meet any of our criteria for securing a settlement on long-term job security, a decent pay rise and protecting working conditions.”

Further talks are expected to take place on Monday.

The train companies had proposed that implementation of the pay award could be fast-tracked to ensure staff go into Christmas secure in the knowledge that they will receive this enhanced pay award early in the New Year alongside a guarantee of job security until April 2024.

“With revenue stuck at 20% below pre-pandemic levels and many working practices unchanged in decades, taxpayers who have contributed £1,800 per household to keep the railway running in recent years, will balk at continuing to pump billions of pounds a year into an industry that desperately needs to move forward with long-overdue reforms and that alienates potential customers with sustained industrial action.

“We urge the RMT leadership to put this offer to its membership and remove the threat of a month of industrial action over Christmas that will upset the travel plans of millions and cause real hardship for businesses which depend on Christmas custom.

“Instead, we urge the RMT to move forward together with us and so we can give our people a pay rise and deliver an improved railway with a sustainable, long-term future for those who work on it.”

The industrial action has cost some staff several weeks’ wages, while the railways have lost an estimated £300m in revenue in 11 days of national strike action since June.

The strikes also hit the wider economy – particularly sectors still recovering from the impact of the pandemic which employ hundreds of thousands of people. Analysis by Hospitality UK shows that the sector loses £1.5 billion in lost sales on strike days and the knock-on impacts.

The Night Time Industries Association said their members took a 40% hit on strike days at a time when seven in ten of their members are either just breaking even or losing money due to the wider cost-of-living crisis. Next week’s strikes will coincide with the busiest week of the year for pubs, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

One Comment to RMT leaders reject latest offer to end rail strikes

  1. The trains strikes are going on too long. Supermarket and warehouse workers would like to be on their wages.The rail workers will not get my support because they should grateful they have got a job in the first place.

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