Simon Calder, also called The Man Who Pays His Manner, has been writing about journey for The Unbiased since 1994. In his weekly opinion column, he explores a key journey challenge – and what it means for you.
Within the more and more unlikely occasion that you simply had been planning a journey by rail this spring or summer season, Mick Lynch has information for you. The final secretary of the RMT union has vowed his members will perform “sustained and focused industrial motion over the subsequent few months” of their lengthy and bitter dispute with Network Rail and prepare operators over pay, job safety and dealing preparations.
After what Mr Lynch calls an “in-depth session of our 40,000 members”, the RMT has rejected the most recent provide from Community Rail and the prepare operators and as a substitute introduced 4 extra days of walkouts and weeks of additional time bans aimed toward wrecking tens of millions extra rail journeys.
“The message we’ve obtained loud and clear is to reject these dreadful provides,” says Mr Lynch. Observe that the union management selected to not ask members truly to reveal how dreadful they thought it was in a referendum.
The final secretary says: “Our members are absolutely ready to combat tooth and nail for a negotiated settlement within the months forward.”
The following spherical of stoppages begins on Thursday 16 March with a nationwide strike by staff at each Community Rail and the prepare operators that are contracted by the Division for Transport.
The intention is to knock out most companies throughout Nice Britain. Crucially, signalling employees working for Community Rail will stroll out, decreasing the nation’s railway to a rump of some intercity strains and commuter routes.
Which, as I’ve beforehand written, is roughly how the “everlasting means” of the railway could completely look when this debilitating collection of strikes is lastly concluded. I hope I’m proved incorrect, however proper now it appears like an unimaginable shrinking rail business.
“Unconditional” is a helpful phrase when defining a guardian’s love for a kid. It additionally describes the one type of deal the RMT will now settle for.
The union is demanding “an unconditional pay provide, a job safety settlement and no detrimental adjustments being imposed on members’ phrases, circumstances and dealing practices”. And to again it up, staff for the 14 prepare operators are additionally placing on 18 and 30 March in addition to 1 April – All Fools’ Day.
Negotiators on either side of the desk have to be feeling fairly silly. They’d been below the robust impression that they had been haggling over a conditional provide. The deal hammered out between employers and union representatives a month in the past concerned every kind of reforms, from closing station ticket workplaces to creating Sunday working obligatory.
The Rail Delivery Groupwhich represents prepare operators, is livid on the RMT’s new insistence on a no-strings deal. A spokesperson says: “No employer who has misplaced 20 per cent of its income might settle for these phrases.”
The union is betting that the federal government will underwrite the rail business’s rising losses. However the transport secretary, Mark Harpersays the railway is successfully a busted flush and that any rescue will depend on “modernising working practices”.
Tim Shoveller, Community Rail’s chief negotiator, calls it proper when he predicts “an extended and drawn out dispute with no apparent finish in sight”.
That is now a conflict of attrition that passengers, rail staff and taxpayers will all lose.