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RMT announces further round of strikes after talks break down

23 February 2023
 

The rail union RMT has announced further strikes across the railways on 16, 18 and 30 March and 1 April after the breakdown of talks with employers.

The union said the latest offer from employers did not meet the needs of members on pay, job security or working conditions.

RMT represents 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operators.

Rail workers will now launch a programme of strike action while Network Rail members will start an overtime ban effecting maintenance and operations work.

This is a continuation of industrial action, which began with three days of strike action in June 2022.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Rail employers are not being given a fresh mandate by the government to offer our members a new deal on pay, conditions and job security. Therefore, our members will now take sustained and targeted industrial action over the next few months.

“The Government can settle this dispute easily by unshackling the rail companies. However, its stubborn refusal to do so will now mean more strike action across the railway network and a very disruptive overtime ban. 

“Ministers cannot continue to sit on their hands hoping this dispute will go away as our members are fully prepared to fight tooth and nail for a negotiated settlement in the months ahead.”

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “This latest round of strikes is totally unjustified and will be an inconvenience to our customers, and cost our people more money at a time they can least afford it.

“The RMT leadership’s decision not to put the deal out to a referendum means that thousands of their lowest paid members have been denied a chance to have a say on an offer which would give them a pay increase of over 13%.

“The RMT agreed from the outset that the industry needed modernisation and understood that was how a pay rise could be funded. After many months of extensive talks and meeting key demands on DOO (driver only operation), pay and job security, the leadership have now reneged on that position and say they do not accept any reforms.

“They know that no employer who has lost 20% of its revenue could accept those terms. The vital changes will not go away because the RMT refuses to engage with them. We remain open to having further talks but urge the leadership to put the deal they negotiated with us to a democratic vote and allow their members – our people – a say on their own future.”

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “Just days after denying its members a say on their own future, the RMT leadership is now trying to make them lose multiple days’ wages through yet more strikes.

“Passengers want this dispute to end. We have facilitated fair and reasonable offers on pay and reform – with a pay rise worth 5% last year and 4% this year – but, sadly, the RMT leadership is not interested.

“Our railways are not currently financially sustainable and these best and final offers would have given workers what they want and, crucially, the passengers what they need. All more strikes will do is damage the rail industry even further and drive more passengers away.”

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