RMT receives new pay offer from train companies in bid to avert more strikes – but will its members accept?
The RMT rail union has announced it has received a new and improved pay offer from train operators in a bid to avert more strikes.
Union bosses said they will consider the deal – which is worth a minimum of nine per cent over two years – and decide whether to put it to their members.
It comes as the RMT’s executive rejected an eight per cent pay offer in early December.
“The national executive committee will be considering this matter and has made no decision on the proposals nor any of the elements within them,” general secretary Mick Lynch said this afternoon.
As part of the deal – considered by the train companies as their “best and final offer” – operators have agreed to no redundancies until January 2025 while withdrawing the proposal to introduce driver only operations (DOO).
Introducing DOO – the practice where the train driver is in control of opening and closing train doors – has been at the centre of controversies because it would lead to having less or no train guards on board.
Nevertheless, companies said they could make proposals on DOO separately.
In exchange, operators are pushing ahead with closing all ticket offices and repurposing staff to “take a range of responsibilities,” including assisting customers that require additional assistance.
Rail Delivery Group’s chair Steve Montgomery – who is negotiating on behalf of train operators – said the offer was fair as it gives workers a “significant uplift over the next two years” while making sure the industry returns to financial sustainability after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With taxpayers still funding up to an extra £175m a month to make up the shortfall in revenue post-covid, we urge the RMT to put this offer to its members so we can bring an end to this damaging dispute for our people, our passengers and the long-term future of Britain’s railways,” he said.
The proposal comes a day after rail minister Huw Merriman admitted that the government has lost more money due to the rail strikes’ impact than it would have if it had settled the dispute with unions months ago.