The ongoing staring contest between RMT and train operators across the UK has seen its first blink, as Liverpool rail workers have been given a 7.1% pay increase ahead of the second-strike taking place today (23rd June). The demands of a pay increase have been met in the hopes that it will help ease the ongoing rail strikes set to carry on further into this week.
The Transport Salaried Staff’s Association (TSSA) members have reportedly accepted the pay rise as of yesterday, starkly contrasting the ongoing failures of RMT leaders to negotiate with the rail industry leaders. The union members at Merseyrail had voted to accept the deal by 94%, seeing members in management grades being offered the same terms.
Andy Heath, Merseyrail Managing Director said:
“As part of our normal annual pay negotiations, we recently met with our trade unions colleagues representing the various grades of staff within our business. Those discussions are progressing well but have yet to be concluded.”
“Merseyrail is solely responsible for making such pay offers, working constructively with our trade unions. We are not part of the current National dispute that is taking place between the RMT, Network Rail and Train Operating Companies directly contracted to the DfT."
Staff members involved in the pay deal include a variety of staff within the company such as station retailers, customer relations assistants, lead revenue protection officers, train crew admin assistants, driver managers, guards’ standards managers, station managers, service production managers, resource controllers, train service delivery managers and staff in fleet, safety, finance, HR, IT and transformation.
Responding to the agreement, TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said:
“Well done to our members and to our union staff for clinching this deal at Merseyrail. It is a sensible outcome to a reasonable offer which goes a long way towards keeping pace with the escalating cost of living.
“What we have seen in our negotiations with Merseyrail is a company which knows the value of our rail and transport network, both to the public and the workers. What this clearly shows is our union, and sister unions, are in no way a block on finding the solutions needed to avoid a summer of discontent on the railways. Rather, it is the government who are intent on digging in their heels.
“The offer from Merseyrail will demonstrate to the entire country that Ministers are set on a course of needless and nonsensical intransigence which benefits no one. Grant Shapps and co would be wise to wake up and start talking seriously to our union as we ballot for industrial action on our railways up and down the land.”
Whilst Andy Heath has outlined this is not part of the ongoing RMT dispute between the operators, these actions could spur the industry to act hastily to put an end to this disruptive period.
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