7 October 2022
RMT Press Office:
General Secretary Mick Lynch has written to Transport Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan, urging the government to unshackle the railway companies and allow a negotiated settlement to be reached.
Over 40,000 railway workers will take an eighth day of strike action in an on-going national rail dispute with Network Rail and 14 train operating companies.
In the letter, Mr Lynch acknowledged the comments made by the Transport Secretary at the Tory conference that there was a "deal to be done."
But said that it was a major problem for the government to be paying over £100m to train operators to cover the costs of the dispute.
Mr Lynch wrote:
"I am writing following your comments at the Conservative Party Conference last weekend in which you said that there is a ‘deal to be done’ between the rail unions and train companies in relation to the ongoing industrial disputes.
"I am also hopeful that a negotiated settlement between the RMT and the employers can be reached. However, for this to be achieved, your Government must unshackle the train operators who currently take their mandate directly from yourself.
"Furthermore, your Government continues to pay the Train Operating Companies, covering the cost of the dispute at taxpayers’ expense on condition that the train operators hand over control of the dispute and your Department agrees their ‘dispute handling plans’. This means there is essentially no imperative on the train companies to reach a meaningful settlement with RMT.
"We estimate that the cost of this policy to the taxpayer is now in the region of £170 million.
"Rather than using taxpayers’ money to cover the cost of this dispute, it would be far better if you were to unshackle the train operators and give them the remit to negotiate a settlement with the RMT that meets our members’ aspirations around job security, pay and working conditions."