The RMT’s Mick Lynch mentioned that rail strikes deliberate round Christmas would nonetheless go forward however added that the union had “began a dialogue” after a primary assembly with the brand new transport secretary, Mark Harper.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union basic secretary mentioned he didn’t anticipate the secretary of state “to be on the desk” however had been promised a “constructive” letter setting out his place – and mentioned Harper had “removed the bellicose nonsense” from one among his predecessors, Grant Shapps.
Nonetheless, Lynch dominated out calling off the eight days of strikes in December and January. He mentioned: “If we name off the strikes, we’ll by no means get a settlement … My members received’t forgive me. I’ve given a dedication – till we get a tangible end result, the motion shall be on.”
Harper mentioned the assembly on the Division for Transport was “constructive” with “an open and sincere dialog in regards to the severe challenges dealing with the railways.”
He mentioned that they had discovered widespread floor, including: “There’s a deal to be achieved, and I consider we are going to get there – I need to facilitate the RMT and the employers to achieve an settlement and finish the dispute for the good thing about the travelling public.”
Talking within the Commons earlier, Harper informed MPs: “I need a sustainable, thriving rail community – however with 20% of passengers not having returned following the Covid pandemic, reform is important.
“I’d urge all commerce union leaders to get again across the desk with employers to hammer out the element of that reform.”
He added: “I very a lot need the strikes to not happen … however so as to pay for a greater supply for rail workers, we’d like reform.”
Harper was because of meet the interim chief of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Affiliation, Frank Ward, in addition to Lynch on Thursday, and the Aslef basic secretary, Mick Whelan, subsequent week.
On Tuesday, asserting new strike dates, Lynch mentioned the Division for Transport had blocked rail business bosses from providing a deal, after negotiators had informed the RMT they have been scheduled to take action.
The RMT has introduced 4 weeks in complete of business motion that’s prone to see additional disruption throughout Britain at Christmas, in addition to nearly two weeks of minimal providers in December and January.
1000’s of members of the RMT working for Community Rail and 14 practice working firms will twice strike for 2 48-hour durations in per week. The primary strikes, on 13-14 and 16-17 December, will trigger disruption over six consecutive days within the run-up to Christmas, with the same impact on providers via additional strikes on 3-4 and 6-7 January.
The strikes will imply solely a minority of providers can run on principal traces whereas smaller traces could have no trains in any respect. About 20% of scheduled trains have run, between 7am and 7pm, on different strike days thus far this 12 months.
An RMT time beyond regulation ban from 18 December till 2 January can also be prone to have an effect on providers throughout a interval of serious engineering works. Community Rail and practice operators are nonetheless establishing how the ban, hitting relaxation day working over the festive interval, will have an effect on trains.
Prepare providers round Britain may also be hit arduous when drivers within the Aslef union strike on Saturday 26 November. Drivers at 11 practice firms will go on strike, stopping all providers at most affected operators.
Aslef has now suspended strike motion on the London Overground, after a pay supply from Arriva. Whelan mentioned the supply meant that they had now “negotiated or been supplied a pay deal by each working firm besides these underneath contract with the Division for Transport”.
The Rail Supply Group mentioned passengers ought to solely journey by practice if obligatory this Saturday and verify their journey prematurely, and anticipate some disruption on Sunday with a lowered timetable in operation.
The Aslef strike on Saturday will happen on Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands, Nice Western Railway, Larger Anglia, London North Japanese Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Transpennine Categorical, and West Midlands Trains.