RMT members accept deal to end long-running pay and conditions dispute
The union has been embroiled in a bitter row for more than 18 months.
Members of the biggest rail workers’ union have voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal to end their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has been embroiled in a bitter row for more than 18 months, taking regular strike action which has caused chaos for passengers.
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.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “This is welcome news for passengers and a significant step towards resolving industrial disputes on the railway, giving workers a pay rise before Christmas and a pathway to delivering long overdue reforms.
“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, four-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.
The RMT 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.
It is understood to include a backdated pay rise of 5% for last year and 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.
A spokesman for the RDG 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 £54 million 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.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is incredibly welcome news for passengers. It’s a significant step towards resolving the industrial disputes on the railway, giving workers a pay rise for Christmas and a pathway to delivering long overdue reforms.
“It is disappointing that Aslef continue down this path. They have blocked their members from having a say on an offer that would take drivers’ median salaries from £60,000 to £65,000 for a 35-hour four-day week. We very much believe Aslef should follow the RMT’s lead and give their members a say.”