RMT leader: Rail dispute is ‘stuck in a deadlock’

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The bitter industrial dispute, which is disrupting train services, is “stuck in a deadlock”, according to the boss of the trade union involved.

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), told the PA news agency the latest proposal aimed at stopping the attacks is “underfunded”.

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Three out of five train services were canceled on Thursday as a wave of industrial action spread across the country.

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Teachers and university workers in England are also on strike to continue the walkout on Wednesday.

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RMT members in 14 train operating companies are on strike on Thursday in their long-standing dispute over wages, jobs and conditions.

Trains started late than usual, at around 7.30am, and would end earlier than usual at around 6.30am.

Across the UK, between 40–50% of services are expected to be running, but there are wide variations across the network, with some areas having no service at all.

Mr Lynch said: “The Government supports train operating companies and gives them their mandate.

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“They have come up with a salary offer which is 5% for the last year and 4% for the coming year, which is less than the rate of inflation.

“But they have said that all wage increases such as they are – what amounts to pay cuts – must be funded by changes in the working conditions of our members.

“So it’s really a self-funded wage increase, and it’s very difficult for us because the terms they’re putting on that deal are not acceptable to our people.

“So we are really stuck at an impasse where the offer is low, the terms are not acceptable and we haven’t found a way forward.”

Services may be disrupted on Friday mornings as most of the rolling stock will not be at the correct depots.

Commuters have also been warned to expect disruption on future strike dates – Saturday 18 March, Thursday 30 March and Saturday 1 April.

Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: “This latest round of strikes will be a further inconvenience to our customers, who have already experienced months of disruption, And our people have to spend even more money at a time.” At least you can afford it.

“They will also ask why the RMT leadership blocked the chance to resolve this dispute by refusing to give its members – many of whom would have benefited from the 13% rise – a say over their own deal.

“Unfortunately, while we will remove all stops to run as many trains as possible, services will be reduced to many parts of the rail network on all four days of the strike, so we advise you to check before you travel. “

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “RMT members in train operating companies are being denied a say over their own future, while being forced to lose more pay through avoidable strike action.

“We urge the RMT executive to make a very fair proposal for a democratic vote of its members of the Rail Delivery Group, as has been done on two separate occasions for RMT members who work for Network Rail.”

Nearly half a million teachers, lecturers, junior doctors, civil servants, London Underground drivers, BBC journalists and Amazon workers walked off the job on Wednesday in one of the biggest days of industrial action in a decade.

At a rally in London, attended by thousands of strikers and supporters, union officials said the strike sent a strong message to the government on its handling of disputes.

Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

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