Rail union RMT has rejected an offer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and demanded a meeting today to resolve the ongoing dispute.
In a statement the union says after months of no offer, it says the Department for Transport (DfT) gave rail operators a mandate to make them a proposal.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said on Sunday: “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 (Driver Only Operation) 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 RMT says RDG is offering four-per-cent in 2022 and 2023 which is condition on RMT members accepting changes to working practices, job losses DOO trains on all companies and the closure of ticket offices.
On announcing the offer, the RDG says it would deliver much-needed reforms, and a pay offer that reflects cost-of-living challenges as well as guarantees on no compulsory redundancies until 1st 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. 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.”
In a release, the RDG says the proposed principles for reforming working practices include:
- To meet the growing demand for weekend leisure travel, particularly on Sundays, current voluntary working arrangements across the railways will be formalised
- Use of part-time contracts and flexible working rosters and patterns to encourage a more diverse workforce who can fit shifts around other commitments
- The creation of a new multi-skilled station worker role, with station staff trained and equipped to take on a range of responsibilities aimed at better meeting the needs of customers
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “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.”
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