Major Christmas rail strikes breakthrough as union accepts deal to end long-running dispute | The Sun
RAIL union members have backed down and finally called off a long series of strikes, putting an end to months of rail misery just in time for the festive season.
Members of the RMT union agreed to an offer from train companies which included a backdated pay rise of 5% for 2022-23 and job security guarantees.
This means they will no longer be involved in industrial action until at least the spring of next year, which will make the hospitality sector breathe a huge sigh of relief.
But train drivers, under the banner of the Aslef union, are set to continue their strike action with planned walkouts scheduled from December 2 to 8.
Drivers are also expected refuse any overtime work from December 1 to 9,leading to further disruptions in train schedules.
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The RMT union has been embroiled in a bitter row over pay, jobs and working arrangements 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 welcomed the news, saying: “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.
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WHEN ARE THE UPCOMING RAIL STRIKES?
The strike dates and affected train operating companies are:
- Saturday, December 2: EMR (East Midlands Railway) and LNER (London North Eastern Railway).
- Sunday, December 3: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Great Northern Thameslink, and West Midlands Trains (WMT).
- Tuesday, December 5: C2C and Greater Anglia.
- Wednesday, December 6: Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway (SWR) main line, SWR depot drivers, and Island Line.
- Thursday, December 7: CrossCountry and Great Western Railway (GWR).
- Friday, December 8: Northern Trains and TransPennine Trains (TPT).
- Additionally, all members will refuse to work any overtime from Friday, December 1, to Saturday, December 9.
“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, 4-day week – ASLEF should follow the RMT’s lead and give their members a say.”
Echoing Mr Harper, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman hailed the "incredibly welcome news for passengers", adding: "It is disappointing that Aslef continue down this path."
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.
A spokesman for the RDG said the 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".
The spokesman added: “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.”
CEO of the UK Hospitality Kate Nicholls told The Sun: "Business are breathing a huge sigh of relief that we’ve drawn a line under this long running and damaging dispute which has cost hospitality workers and businesses dearly – over £4bn and counting over last 18 months.
"Really welcome but now needs deal to be put to Aslef members."
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