RMT sets out talks ‘road map’ as rail services hit by fresh strike

RMT sets out talks ‘road map’ as rail services hit by fresh strike

The biggest rail workers’ union has suggested a “road map” to a negotiated settlement in the deadlocked dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has written to the Rail Delivery Group saying the two sides needed to navigate a way through the row.

The move was made as 20,000 RMT members staged a fresh strike, causing huge disruption to services.

Trains started later than usual on Saturday morning and will finish earlier while some areas will have no services all day.

Events affected by the strike include the Leeds and Reading festivals, Notting Hill Carnival and sports fixtures.

The RMT is also planning a strike on September 2 while members of the drivers’ union Aslef are taking strike action on September 1, threatening days of disruption.

The rail unions are also embroiled in a bitter row over controversial plans to close railway ticket offices, which have angered passenger groups and those representing elderly and disabled passengers.

More than 460,000 people have responded to a consultation on the plans and a protest is being held opposite Downing Street on August 31, a day before the consultation ends.

In the letter released on Saturday, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “I believe that both parties are of the view that we need to navigate a way through the dispute and from the RMT’s position that would mean the following suggested stages:

“A one-year pay proposal for all companies covering the year 2022-2023, with an underpin, backdated to the relevant anniversary dates in 2022.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“A guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

“An undertaking that discussions with RMT within the companies, including formal consultations and negotiations, will be deferred until the outcome and determination from the ticket office closures consultation has been provided by the Government and, in any case, that these discussions will not commence before 1st December 2023.

“A commitment that the existing collective bargaining structures and processes in each company will be respected and adhered to in full including consultation and negotiation as appropriate to the matters in scope and, if necessary, use of Avoidance of Dispute processes.

“A commitment that pay negotiations for the year 2023–2024 will commence from 1st December 2023.

“In using the above staged programme, I believe that we can bring clarity to everyone in the industry, that they will receive a pay increment for the previous year 2022/2023, with a guarantee of employment going forward, and that all of the change agenda that the companies wish to propose will be known in full and then addressed appropriately through the respective machineries in each of the companies.”