Train operators make new pay offer to RMT

The RMT is considering a ‘best and final’ pay offer, which train operators made last night.

It includes increases of five and four per cent for 2022 and 2023 respectively, along with proposals to adapt the railway to allow for ‘significant changes’ in demand.

The Rail Delivery Group said staff who are paid below a certain threshold will receive a guaranteed £1750 in the first year, while pay would be backdated to the relevant 2022 pay award date, so that eligible staff benefit from a lump sum payment as soon as possible.

The RDG also said that staff are guaranteed no compulsory redundancies until at least 31 December 2024, compared with the previous date of 1 April 2024.

The operators have stepped back from the previous demand that trains should operated by drivers only, saying only that ‘train operating companies could separately make proposals to update and revise current on‐board roles – for example reflecting the use of new on-board technology for station/driver dispatch processes’.

Other elements include a new ‘multi-skilled’ job description for station staff, who would be ‘trained and better equipped to take on a range of responsibilities aimed at better meeting the needs of customers‘.

There would also be ‘station groups’ so that staff would be able to move between stations if, for example, there were staff shortages or where less able passengers needed assistance.

Other key parts of the deal are new conditions applying to Sunday working and the use of part-time contracts and flexible working rosters and patterns. The RDG pointed out that Sunday travel has increased significantly since the Covid-19 pandemic.

RDG chair Steve Montgomery said: ‘This is a fair offer that gives RMT members a significant uplift over the next two years – weighted particularly for those on lower incomes who we know are most feeling the squeeze – while allowing the railway to innovate and adapt to new travel patterns. It also means we can offer our people more varied, rewarding careers.

‘With taxpayers still funding up to an extra £175 million 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.’

The union has acknowledged the offer. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘The National Executive Committee will be considering this matter and has made no decision on the proposals nor any of the elements within them.

‘We will give an update on our next steps in due course.’

At the moment, the RMT is still set to stage a strike of its driver members on 1 February, while the drivers’ union ASLEF will be calling out its members for two 24-hour stoppages on 1 and 3 February.

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