Dismay after RMT refuses to put offer to members
Train operators responded with dismay after the RMT trade union rejected a revised pay and conditions offer without putting it to its members.
The biggest rail workers’ union rejected what the Transport Secretary has described as the “best and final offers” aimed at resolving the long-running dispute.
Meanwhile, thousands of TSSA members are to be given a vote on two offers from the train companies.
Mark Harper described the move by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) to reject the proposals from Network Rail and the train operating companies as “a kick in the teeth for passengers”.
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “Our passengers and many hard-working RMT members will be deeply dismayed that the union leadership has opted to reject our fair proposals without putting out a vote to their full membership in a democratic referendum.
“Having listened to the union’s concerns during recent negotiations, we went back to the table with substantial changes to give colleagues a minimum pay increase of at least 9% over two years – rising to over 13% for the lowest paid – which they will now miss out on without even having had an opportunity to have their say.
“We removed driver-only operation and gave an improved job security offer.”
Mick Lynch, the RMT’s general secretary, said they had to reject the “dreadful offers” after a consultation of his members and vowed to keep up industrial action for “as long as it takes”.
The RMT said its executive decided to reject both offers on the basis that they do not meet members’ expectations on pay, job security or working conditions.
The union said it was seeking an “unconditional” pay offer, a job security agreement and no detrimental changes being imposed on members’ terms, conditions and working practices.
It said it believes Network Rail’s plans for maintenance were unsafe, unhealthy for staff and unworkable. Network Rail rejects the union’s claims.
But the TSSA union took a more conciliatory approach after receiving two formal offers which, for the first time, cover management and control staff as well as stations and other grades within the rail industry.
TSSA reps across the country were consulted in an online ballot and voted overwhelmingly in favour of putting the offers out to members.
Of those who voted there was also agreement that there should be no formal recommendation from the union on whether to accept or reject the offers.
The timetable for the ballot will be decided in due course.
The train companies involved in the scope of the new offer are – Avanti West Coast, C2C, Chiltern Railways, Cross Country, East Midlands Railway, Govia Thameslink Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, London North Eastern Railway, Northern Trains Limited, South Eastern Railway, South Western Railway, Trans Pennine Express, West Midlands Trains.
A TSSA spokesperson said: “Members involved in this long-running dispute will now have the chance to vote on whether what the train companies have come up with is enough to address their demands.
“We have fought for months on pay, job security and conditions in the face of a cost of living crisis and intransigence from government ministers.
“What is on the table now is a result of careful negotiations and the commitment of our members in their determination to demonstrate our collective industrial strength.
“Though the offers represent progress on a number of fronts we will continue to ballot for further industrial action as the dispute remains live.”