Rail workers accept deal to end their long-running dispute over pay and conditions

By John Mercury November 30, 2023

Rail workers have voted to accept a deal to end their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have agreed to an offer from train companies for a backdated pay rise of 5% for 2022-2023 and job security guarantees.

It follows a bitter 18-month row with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and the government, resulting in regular strike action which has caused chaos for passengers.

The deal means RMT’s mandate to strike has been withdrawn, so there will be no more walkouts until at least spring next year.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members have spoken in huge numbers to accept this offer and I want to congratulate them on their steadfastness in this long industrial campaign.

“We will be negotiating further with the train operators over reforms they want to see. And we will never shy away from vigorously defending our members terms and conditions, now or in the future.

“This campaign shows that sustained strike action and unity gets results and our members should be proud of the role they have played in securing this deal.”

The pay rise could provide an increase of around £1,000 in take home pay in the first year of the deal for a member earning a salary of £31,000, the government said.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mick Lynch explains offer to RMT

A pay rise for this financial year is still to be discussed.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the breakthrough was “welcome news for passengers” and gives “workers a pay rise before Christmas and a pathway to delivering long overdue reforms”.

However, he hit out at the train drivers’ union ASLEF, which is still involved in industrial action.

Mr Harper said: “It remains the case that the train drivers’ union ASLEF continue to block their members from having a say on the offer that would take train drivers’ median salaries from £60,000 to £65,000 for a 35-hour, 4-day week – ASLEF should follow the RMT’s lead and give their members a say.”

Members of ASLEF will start a week-long overtime ban on Friday and will stage a series of strikes next week in their dispute over pay.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

ASLEF: ‘We have no choice’

The RMT, which is the biggest rail workers’ union, announced a so-called memorandum of understanding last month with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) which set out a way forward and paved the way for the ballot of union members.

As well as a backdated pay rise of 5% for last year, the offer includes job security guarantees such as no compulsory redundancies until the end of 2024. The scrapping of plans to close railway ticket offices also helped break the deadlock.

After the new offer was agreed, Mr Lynch said while the pay rise was “modest”, the “conditions” attached to previous proposals from the RDG – including accepting ticket office closures and job losses – had been dropped.

He told Sky News: “Basically, the government has had to do a U-turn since their massive defeat over ticket offices and other matters, and they’ve now made up a proposal that is not conditional on ripping up our members’ contracts of employment and making thousands of people redundant.

“So we’ve got a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies through to the end of next year – something that we were told we would never get by the pundits and people in the media… and now we’ve got a proposal that does just that.”


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *