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RMT rejects offer aimed at averting festive strikes

Former RMT boss says rail strikes won’t stop Xmas travel

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RMT chiefs have rejected an offer from rail bosses, making widespread strikes a near-certainty in December. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said it had offered an eight percent pay increase for staff, split over two years. But the union rejected the proposals, stating they would lead to significant job losses.

Why did the RMT reject the pay offer?

The union is seeking higher pay, better working conditions and employment security for its members.

The RDG offer detailed a staggered pay rise, with four percent increases in 2022 and 2023.

The group included a freeze on compulsory redundancies until April 2024, with some work practice changes.

Officials favour new multi-skilled roles, Sunday working and plans to repurpose ticket offices.

RDG also included proposals to use part-time contracts and flexible working, which it said would produce a more diverse workforce.

Reacting to the offer, representatives said the plans would lead to significant job losses and called a meeting for today.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said union members would not find the proposals acceptable.

He 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”.

Mr Lynch said that, in action, the plan would trigger “the loss of thousands of jobs”, primarily from ticket offices.

He added that they would introduce “unsafe practices” such as driver-only operated trains.

Ultimately, the RDG proposals would leave British railways “chronically understaffed”, he said.

Mr Lynch claimed the RDG and Department for Transport (DfT) “both knew this offer would not be acceptable to RMT members”.

The meeting between the RMT and RDG this morning will work to secure “a negotiated settlement on job security, working conditions and pay”.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper claimed the deal offered would “help get trains running on time”, adding the rejection was “incredibly disappointing”.

Without a settlement, the RMT will forge ahead with a series of 48-hour strikes planned for December and January.

When are the RMT strikes?

The ongoing row over pay and conditions means that, without a resolution in further talks, the RMT will force rail bosses’ hands using strikes.

The union balloted members last month, with the majority voting for industrial action over eight days in December and January.

They will prevent people from travelling on some services until nearly a week before Christmas and for several days in the early new year.

The planned RMT 48-hour strikes fall on the following dates:

  • December 13 to 14
  • December 16 to 17
  • January 3 to 4
  • January 6 to 7

Millions of people will have to make alternative plans as the strikes shutter services across several lines.

Which services will the strikes affect?

The RMT’s primary dispute is with Network Rail but also involves another 14 companies.

They are:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Cross Country Trains
  • Greater Anglia
  • LNER
  • East Midlands Railway
  • c2c
  • Great Western Railway
  • Northern Trains
  • South Eastern
  • South Western Railway
  • Transpennine Express
  • Avanti West Coast
  • West Midlands Trains
  • GTR (including Gatwick Express)

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