Rail workers to stage more strikes in row over pay, jobs and conditions
Rail workers are to stage a series of fresh strikes in the long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
Members of the Rail, Martine and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on March 16, 18 and 30, and April 1, at 14 train operators.
The union's members at Network Rail will strike on March 16 and will then launch a ban on overtime.
The RMT accused employers of refusing to put any new offers on the table.
The union, which represents 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operators, rejected offers from employers last week.
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.”