RMT and train operators reach breakthrough in national rail row | Rail industry

The RMT union has reached a possible deal with train operators to resolve their long-running national rail dispute, allaying fears of a repeat of last year’s Christmas strikes.

The union, which represents 20,000 crew and station staff, has drawn up a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) with employers to ballot members at the train operating companies over a deal which would backdate pay rises and give more guarantees over jobs.

Unions have staged intermittent strikes since June last year. The RMT agreed a deal for members at Network Rail in March but it rejected a pay offer from operators worth 9% over two years for train staff.

A statement issued by both the RMT and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the body representing train operators, said: “If accepted, this MOU will terminate the national dispute mandate, creating a pause and respite from industrial action over the Christmas period and into spring next year, while allowing for these important negotiations on proposed reforms to take place at local train operating company level through the established collective bargaining structures.

“These discussions would be aimed at addressing the companies’ proposals on the changing needs and expectations of passengers as well as unlocking further increases for staff, in order to help to secure a sustainable, long-term future for the railway and all those who work on it.”

The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “This is a welcome development and our members will now decide in an e-referendum whether they want to accept this new offer from the RDG.”

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The train drivers union Aslef remains in dispute with the RDG. A spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to hear of an RMT deal but we haven’t heard from the RDG since April or the government since January. We’ve love to negotiate with them but they haven’t approached us.”

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