RMT swats down 8% pay rise offer from rail bosses within hours as latest bid to avoid Christmas train strikes fails

4 December 2022, 20:12

Around 40,000 rail workers are set to strike in the run-up to Christmas
Around 40,000 rail workers are set to strike in the run-up to Christmas. Picture: Getty

By Adam Solomons

Rail workers' union the RMT slapped down an 8% pay rise offer, ending the Rail Delivery Group's latest bid to avert a wave of Christmas strikes.

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Employers' body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) this evening offered RMT staff the pay rise plus a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies to April 2024.

But within hours the union had swatted down the bargaining attempt, with Mick Lynch stating that the offer "does not meet any of our criteria for securing a settlement on long-term job security, a decent pay rise and protecting working conditions".

He added: “The RDG and Department of Transport, who sets their mandate, both knew this offer would not be acceptable to RMT members.

“RMT is demanding an urgent meeting with the RDG tomorrow (Monday) morning with a view to securing a negotiated settlement on job security, working conditions and pay.”

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RMT general secretary Mick Lynch
Mick Lynch, RMT leader. Picture: PA

Thousands of RMT members across 14 train operators and Network Rail are due to stage two 48-hour strikes later this month.

The RDG said its offer delivered “vital and long overdue” changes to working arrangements.

"This is a fair and affordable offer in challenging times, providing a significant uplift in salary for staff", an RDG spokesperson said.

A statement said a draft framework agreement gives the RMT the chance to call off its planned industrial action and put the offer to its membership.

The strikes, on December 13-14 and 16-17, coupled with an overtime ban over Christmas, would result in a month of disruption on the network, said the RDG.

Employers tabled the draft framework agreement after several weeks of intensive talks.

On Sunday, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said it has received new offers from both Network Rail and the Rail Delivery Group to resolve the national dispute over pay, jobs and terms and conditions, following last ditch talks over the weekend.

The union is planning strikes during December.

TSSA organising director Luke Chester, said: “I am glad that the Government has finally given authority to the employers to make offers in an attempt to resolve our dispute.

“We are considering the detail of these offers very carefully and will be consulting our reps tomorrow.

“The RDG offer, in particular, contains more strings than a harp, including some which have never previously been discussed.

Station closed with strike notice board
The tube and train strike has seen 80% of services disrupted. Picture: Getty

“Today’s RDG offer also omits significant points that had previously been negotiated.

“There is nothing in the offer for either managers or controllers in train operators, and our union would expect any serious offer to include all those staff covered by the dispute.

“I have requested an urgent meeting with the RDG on Monday to understand their rationale behind making these last-minute changes and seek to address our concerns.”