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RMT agrees revised pay deal with Northern

The RMT has agreed a revised deal with Northern over worker pay, leading the union to halt its current vote for industrial action against the franchise.

The rail union started balloting its members two weeks ago on whether they wished to take strike action over what it had called an “unacceptable” pay offer from Northern’s operator Arriva Rail North – arguing that the offer did not meet the benchmark set elsewhere in the industry.

The RMT’s executive will now be putting the revised offer to its Northern workers in a referendum ballot, advising its members to accept the deal.

Its general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “This revised offer represents a major breakthrough for the unions and has been secured through the hard work of our negotiators, backed up by the determination and solidarity of our members, who have made it quite clear that they were prepared to stand up and fight for a fair deal.

“The fact that the deal lifts the basic pay levels of those on the lowest grades is also a significant victory and is a model for the industry at a time when the drive is to hammer down on these key members of the rail team.”

Northern’s revised offer to RMT and its sister unions will benefit staff of all grades for a two-year period and boost the basic pay of train presentation operatives (TPOs), who fall on the lower end of Northern’s pay scale.

Over 5,000 Northern employees will receive a 2.2% pay increase for 2016-17 backdated to April 2016, and a further increase of either 2.4% or 2017 RPI for 2017-18, whichever is the greater. TPOs will instead receive a flat £500 increase in each of both years.

Northern also offered to implement a new loyalty scheme for all non-managers which will see £150 voucher payments made after 10,20 and 25 years’ services and every five years thereafter. From 2018 the voucher payment will also be linked to January RPI.

A spokesman for Northern said: “Throughout the discussions we have emphasised our commitment to investing in our people and working towards a satisfactory conclusion and are pleased to have been able to reach agreement, in principle, over a deal which gives financial stability for employees until April 2018.”

Although this particular dispute looks to end happily, the RMT is still threatening industrial dispute with Northern. Last week RMT gave Northern and Merseyrail two weeks to offer assurances about the retention of guards on their trains as part of the union’s ongoing unhappiness with driver-only operated (DOO) services.

(Image c. Alvey and Towers)

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Jerry Alderson   20/01/2017 at 17:54

I was going to say that this removes a headache for Northern MD Alex Hynes, but [breaking news] he's going to get a whole lot of new problems in Scotland.

Gw   21/01/2017 at 22:27

Please report accurately. Once again you refer to DOO not DCO. It is NOT the same. We expect better from you.

.   22/01/2017 at 12:30

Many conductors are open to the working of DCO as seen on sister company Cross Country Trains.... For essence of speed a driver would release the doors upon coming to a stand, whilst the conductor could be carrying out revenue or customer service duties. They wouldn't get stuck trying to return to open doors, but could then alight via the nearest door and move to the rear of the train then after checking the passenger corridor give the driver 2-1 on the buzzer for them to close the doors culminating in the 2-2 signal between both..... Drivers are DCO and conductor retains their safety critical role in case they have to work to instructions in the National Rule Book......

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