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RMT takes aim at May for ‘sabotaging’ deals with TOCs

The RMT has today written to the prime minister accusing the government of “sabotaging” any chance of a deal being made with TOCs in the union’s ongoing dispute.

The union is currently battling with four TOCs, Merseyrail, Northern, Southern and Greater Anglia over the move to driver-only operated (DOO) trains, which it claims will compromise passenger safety on services.

Today also marks the first of two days of strikes this month across all the TOCs in the latest spell of industrial action this year.

The letter, sent to Theresa May and penned by RMT’s general secretary Mick Cash, read: “I am now becoming increasingly alarmed that you are sabotaging deals with the RMT on Southern, Northern and Anglia Trains and also South Western Railway.

“I do not say this lightly as a number of train operating companies are privately indicating to me that that it is the government that are preventing the deals that in normal circumstances they would be able to make with the RMT.

“My concerns that you are sabotaging deals from being made are reinforced by the fact that not long before your became prime minister the Southern dispute was in its infancy and entirely resolvable while three companies, TransPennine Express, East Coast and Great Western all in fact made acceptable proposals that would allow for the introduction of new modern trains, whilst at the same time retaining the guard,” it continued.

“Yet since you became prime minister you have prevented similar offers being made by other rail companies.

“The fact that we can reach agreements with the Scottish and Welsh governments but not your government only reinforces my concern that you are sabotaging deals and in doing so putting anti- union politics before passengers.”

Commenting on his own letter, Cash explained that there had been a “co-ordinated blockade” of the negotiating process since Theresa May became prime minister which was reportedly stopping the RMT reaching a settlement with operators.

“It is also clear that some of the rail companies themselves are frustrated at being used as political pawns and are being given a centralised script to read out to us in meetings,” he continued. “That points to politically motivated sabotage of the normal industrial relations machinery and RMT believes that it is being orchestrated right from the very top.‎

“The action that is disrupting rail services this morning has been forced upon us by a government which appears to be hell bent on confrontation.

“My call to the prime minister is simply – call off the blockade on talks, end the centralised sabotage of the normal industrial relations process and let us get back into genuine negotiations with the private rail companies that allow us to resolve these disputes.”

RTM has contacted the government for comment.

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Andrew Gwilt   03/10/2017 at 12:23

Anglia Trains? Greater Anglia you meant RTM.

Mark Hare   03/10/2017 at 14:30

No Andrew. RTM meant 'Anglia Trains' - they are directly quoting Mick Cash in his statement and that's what he called it. Clearly he should have said 'Abellio Greater Anglia' but he got it wrong because he's more interested in scoring cheap political points than giving TOCs their correct name.

Jimbo   03/10/2017 at 18:34

I hope Teresa May gets one of her most junior people to respond with a "Dear Mr. Cash, We value your letter and aim to respond with 1 month..." letter. Sounds like he has not been able to browbeat the TOC's in submission, like he normally can, and so there must be a conspiracy that is stopping him get his way.

Chris@Chesterfield   03/10/2017 at 20:22

Since the government is the customer for the train services involved, supporting them all with hard cash (either through the TOCs or in bankrolling Network Rail, or both) is it particularly surprising that they should have a view on how many staff per train they want to have?

Steve B Collins   03/10/2017 at 21:50

This desperate act shows that the RMT is at the end of its long game. It really has no where to go now. Mike Cash is putting all of his efforts into keeping his (very highly paid) job. When a union leader is more interested in preserving his salary than anything else the union members should realise that the writing is on the wall. Bob Crow was far too astute to have boxed himself into a corner like this, relying on his members as cannot fodder to preserve his position.

Andrew Gwilt   03/10/2017 at 22:05

Ah right. Thanks Mark Hare. Got confused by Anglia Trains. But now I fully understand.

Andrew JG   03/10/2017 at 22:14

Does RMT know about the strikes that is going to happen on the London Underground on Thursday 5th October?

Tothehills   04/10/2017 at 10:03

Mr Cash seems to be getting increasingly desperate by wanting to to drag in drag in every TOC into this dispute. A prime example was that of South Western Railways - they gave what appears to me a reasonable commitment to maintain staff on trains but this was not good enough for Comrade Cash. Me thinks he is betting on a Labour victory in the near future (a good bet for him, a less good one for the passengers given I think investment in the railways will drop despite the rhetoric and Labour will find "better" things to spend money on). If I was Merseyrail I would be asking why should they maintain guards on their railways given that the last passenger killed on their network was caused by a deliberate action by a guard.

Mark Hare   04/10/2017 at 11:59

Andrew JG - the LU strike by ASLEF drivers on October 5th is not within the remit of this article. However the strike has now been called off.

Andrew JG   05/10/2017 at 03:19

Thanks Mark. I have heard that the tube strikes has been called off.

Phil Barber   06/10/2017 at 13:32

Can someone explain the logic of the RMT still objecting to a change in operating procedures that was already implemented nearly a year ago?

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