'Rail dispute unlikely to end without mandate for industry to negotiate'

Mick Lynch claims the Government is blocking rail employees from making a deal.

Rail dispute unlikely to end without mandate for industry to negotiate – RMT iStock

The rail dispute will continue into the new year unless the UK Government gives the industry a mandate to negotiate a settlement to the long running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, a union has warned.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) accused ministers of “abdicating their responsibility” to sort out the industrial unrest.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has claimed the Government is blocking rail employers from making a deal.

Since meeting a minister last week there have been no further scheduled negotiations to try to prevent upcoming strikes on Network Rail, said the RMT.

It pointed out that it has agreed deals in every part of the railway network where the Department for Transport is not involved.

Pay offers from Network Rail and the train operating companies are “well below” what has been agreed in Scotland, Wales and where metro mayors have control of the rail franchise, the RMT said.

A rejected offer from the firm was conditional on “ripping up” working conditions for railway workers, while on the train operators, RMT members would have had to accept a “paltry“ pay rise, driver only operations (DOO) across the whole network, and the closure of all ticket offices, creating an inaccessible and less safe railway, said the union.

Lynch said: “The union remains available for talks to resolve this dispute.

“But until the Government gives the rail industry a mandate to come to a negotiated settlement on job security, pay and condition of work, our industrial campaign will continue into the new year, if necessary.”

The Government denies it is blocking a deal.