South Western Railway services to be hit in July
Mick Lynch says strike "will show the country just how important railway staff are to the running of the rail industry"
June 23, 2023
The RMT union has announced another three days of strike action on the railways in its dispute over pay.
Its members working for 14 train operating companies (TOCs) will not be turning up on 20, 22 and 29 July. Services are likely to continue to be affected the morning after each strike day.
The most severe impact will be on South Western Railway (SWR) where a significant proportion of drivers are members of the RMT union rather than ASLEF. Most of the other 20,000 workers striking across the country will be guards, train managers and station staff.
On previous days of industrial action, the company has operated a drastically reduced timetable both in terms of the number of stations being serviced and the hours of operation.
The strikes will make it more difficult for people travelling to the fourth and fifth Ashes tests and golf’s Open Championship.
The union is demanding a pay increase in line with inflation whereas employers have offered a backdated increase of 5% with a further rise of 4% conditional on changes in working practices.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, "This latest phase of action will show the country just how important railway staff are to the running of the rail industry.
"My team of negotiators and I are available 24/7 for talks with the train operating companies and government ministers.
"Yet quite incredibly neither party has made any attempt whatsoever to arrange any meetings or put forward a decent offer that can help us reach a negotiated solution.
"The government continues to shackle the companies and will not allow them to put forward a package that can settle this dispute.
"Our members have now voted 3 times to take strike action over the last 12 months - the most of recent of which coincided with having the full details of the substandard offer from the rail operators.
"They voted by 9-1 to renew their strike mandate and RMT will continue its industrial campaign until we reach a negotiated settlement on pay, working conditions and job security."
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the TOCs said, “More strikes are totally unnecessary. After a year of industrial action all the RMT has achieved is losing their members more money than they would have received in the pay offers they refused to put to put out to a vote, despite having agreed the terms with the negotiators the room.
“We have now made three offers that the RMT executive have blocked without a convincing explanation. We remain open to talks and we have said repeatedly that we want to give our people a pay rise, but until the union leadership and executive is united in what it wants and engages in good faith with the 30% shortfall in revenue the industry is continuing to grapple with post covid, it is difficult to move forward. Sadly our staff, our customers and the communities across the country which rely on a thriving railway are the ones that are suffering as a result."
The Department for Transport spokesperson said, "After a year of industrial action, passengers and rail workers alike are growing tired of union bosses playing politics with their lives.”
In May the RMT membership voted to continue industrial action for another six months.
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