Rail union leader says he expects ‘very tight’ proposal from employers

A rail union leader says they expect employers to present them with a “very tight proposal” that offers a “way below inflation” pay package.

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Mick Lynch arrived at the offices of FirstGroup in Paddington, London, on Thursday for a meeting with the Rail Delivery Group over the ongoing job security and pay dispute.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Lynch said: “We will be having further talks today with the Rail Delivery Group and the suggestion and the idea is that they’re going to make a revised proposal.

“But we’ll have to see. You know, I don’t know what they’re going to tell me when I get in the room and at some stage a new written proposal will be put to us.

“I don’t know whether that will take a long time or whether it will be very quick. But the idea of this meeting is that will be revised proposals.”

Mr Lynch said they expect to get a “very tight proposal” with a “way below inflation” pay offer.

“This is a three-pronged package. It’s about job security – not having compulsory redundancies, it’s about the conditions of work and pay is the third part of that element,” he said.

“It will be a very tight proposal. It will not be generous. It will be way below inflation and it will have very onerous conditions on it.

“The three things are intrinsically linked. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have a job security package without the conditions. You can’t have a pay package without the conditions.”

Mr Lynch said the rail employers are not in a position to give the unions a “clean pay proposal” and have been instructed by the Government not to do so.

He also said they expect to receive a “big document” that they will need to consider and put to their members to see what they think.

“When (a proposal is) in a position to vote on, there will be a vote of our members,” he said.

“The only way this dispute is going to be resolved is if our members accept the proposals from Network Rail and the train operators in a referendum. It’s the only way we’ll resolve it.”

Luke Chester, organising director at the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), also said they expect to see a “fresh set of negotiations” ahead of a meeting with rail employers at the same offices later on Thursday afternoon.

Industrial strike
Luke Chester, from the TSSA, speaks to the media (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr Chester said: “We are expecting a fresh set of negotiations hopefully, a fresh offer, something better than was previously on the table.

“That’s not going to be very difficult because what was previously put on the table was totally unacceptable.”

Speaking about what they are looking for, he said: “It’s about more job security, it’s about a far pay offer that reflects the current cost-of-living crisis, and it is about protecting our members’ terms and conditions of employment.

“So we want to see an offer that meets all those three critical matters in dispute.”