by Andrew Wright (Workers GB Writers Group)
The RMT has rejected the revised pay offers from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Network Rail. Train drivers union ASLEF has also rejected revised pay offers. The sticking point in both cases is the employer’s insistence on preconditions, which include changes to working practices and a binding commitment to Sunday working. Both unions have consequently rejected the offers.
The RMT has announced plans for a fresh ballot of union members to achieve a new mandate to extend its industrial action for another six months, though no strike dates have as yet been announced. RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch explained that the offers were “dreadful” and called for fresh talks with bosses.
The mantra of the RDG remains : “[RMT]…must now accept the urgent need to make the railway system fit for the future.” Rail industry bosses wring their hands in sorrow over the prospect of a £2 billion a year annual shortfall of revenue. Apparently increased homeworking and a dramatic fall in customer numbers is to blame.
The privatisation of the rail network as we all know was undertaken as a plain matter of doctrinaire capitalist ideology, not from economic necessity. This experiment has abysmally failed. The British public overwhelmingly supports the re-nationalisation of all public utilities and the entire public transport system.
The British public also overwhelmingly supports all striking workers in their uphill battle for acceptable wage and salary increases which meet the skyrocketing cost of living.