RMT rejects new pay offer and calls for urgent talks

The RMT has turned down a new pay offer from the operators who belong to the Rail Delivery Group, describing it as ‘not acceptable’. The union is demanding a meeting today as the first of the Christmas strikes get nearer.

The offer consisted of a ‘framework agreement’,which would have funded pay increases of up to 8 per cent for the pay awards in 2022 and 2023.

The RDG said: ‘This is a fair and affordable offer in challenging times, providing a significant uplift in salary for staff. If approved by the RMT, implementation 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 per cent 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 offer includes changes to working practices which would ’formalise’ the current voluntary Sunday working arrangements, introduce part time contracts and ‘flexible working‘ rosters, and also see the creation of ‘multi-skilled’ station staff, who would be ‘equipped to take on a range of responsibilities’.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said last night: ‘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.

‘The RDG and DfT who sets their mandate, both knew this offer would not be acceptable to RMT members. 

‘If this plan was implemented, it would not only mean the loss of thousands of jobs but the use of unsafe practices such as DOO and would leave our railways chronically understaffed.

‘RMT is demanding an urgent meeting with the RDG tomorrow morning with a view to securing a negotiated settlement on job security, working conditions and pay.’

The union added that Network Rail has also made a ‘complex offer on pay and working practices‘ which its National Executive Committee will discuss today.

Transport minister Mark Harper was quick to respond to the RMT’s reaction, saying: ‘The RMT has been offered an improved new deal by the train operating companies and has rejected it outright. The situation is incredibly disappointing, and unfair to the public, passengers and the rail workforce who want a deal.

‘Our railways need to modernise. There’s no place for outdated working practices that rely on voluntary overtime to run a reliable seven-day service. Passengers should also receive the service they’ve paid for. This deal will help get trains running on time.

‘The government continues to play its part in trying to facilitate a resolution to this dispute, while rightly letting the employers do the negotiating. Now it’s for the unions to play their part too by putting the offer from the train operating companies to their members and call off industrial action that would damage the rail industry, rail workers and the wider economy.’

Unless there is a breakthrough, walkouts by 40,000 RMT railway members are still set to go ahead in pairs of 48-hour strikes separated by one day in each case, when disruption is also likely.

They will affect 14 train operators and Network Rail on 13-14 and 16-17 December, and on 3-4 and 6-7 January.

source= http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2022/12/05-rmt-rejects-new-pay-offer.html