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RMT and train firms reach agreement over pay and conditions

Deniz Huseyin
30 November 2023
Mick Lynch: 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
Mick Lynch: 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


Members of the RMT union have overwhelmingly voted in favour of proposals by train operating companies over pay, jobs and conditions.

Among the RMT members who cast a vote in the poll, 89% backed the proposals.

In the agreement between the RMT and the 15 train operating companies (TOCs), represented by the Rail Delivery Group, there will be no compulsory redundancies before the end of 2024 while the recruitment freeze on vacancies will be lifted. 

The deal also confirms the Government’s withdrawal of both plans to close rail station ticket offices and the extension of working hours.

The settlement will see a backdated pay award for 2022 of at least 5% or £1,750, whichever is higher. That will see the wages of lower-paid staff rising by up to 13%. 

Talks between the RMT and each TOC on a pay rise due from April 2023 will start early next year, with a further pay rise possibly linked to changes to working arrangements. The union said there will be no new ballots for strikes until at least April should talks break down.

General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members have spoken in huge numbers to accept this unconditional pay offer and no compulsory redundancies until the end of 2024.

"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 dispute between the RMT and the train operators started in June 2022, resulting in widespread strikes on several occasions. 

Meanwhile, train drivers union ASLEF’s 18-month dispute with train operators continues, with industrial action starting on 1 December in a long-running dispute over pay.

Members will walk out at EMR and LNER on Saturday 2 December; at Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern Thameslink, and WMT on Sunday 3 December; at C2C and Greater Anglia on Tuesday 5 December; at Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, SWR main line, SWR depot drivers, and Island Line on Wednesday 6 December; at CrossCountry and GWR on Thursday 7 December; and at Northern and TPT on Friday 8 December.

All members will also refuse to work any overtime from Friday 1 to Saturday 9 December.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: “It is clear that the Tory government does not want to resolve this dispute. We haven’t had a meeting with Mark Harper, the transport secretary, since December 2022. We haven’t had a meeting with Huw Merriman, the rail minister, since January this year. And we haven’t heard from the employers, the private sector train operating companies for whom we work, since April.

“We are prepared to come to the table and negotiate but the TOCs – and the Tories that stand behind them in what is turning into a political, rather than an industrial, dispute. They simply can’t be bothered. They are happy to see this dispute rumble on, for passengers and businesses to suffer, and to drive Britain’s railways – once the envy of the world – into a managed decline.”

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “This welcome vote from RMT members will unlock a pay rise for our people, and means that fair agreements have now been reached with three out of the four unions involved in the recent industrial dispute.

“Unfortunately, the ASLEF leadership’s decision to call further industrial action means passengers still face disruption between 1-9 December, despite an offer remaining on the table which would see basic driver salaries increase from £60k to £65k for a four-day week. 

“We want to reach a fair agreement which will get more trains running on time and put the railway on a sustainable footing, at a time when taxpayers are contributing an extra £54m a week to keep services running post covid. Instead of staging more damaging industrial action, we call on ASLEF to work with us to resolve this dispute for the long-term good of everyone who works in rail and the millions of businesses and passengers who rely on it every day.”

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