November 8, 2023
From Socialist Worker (UK)

The proposed rail deal in the memorandum of understanding between unions and bosses

The proposed rail deal in the memorandum of understanding between unions and bosses

Rail workers are to vote on whether they will halt their present dispute in exchange for a wage-cutting pay deal and with no secure guarantees about future conditions. 

The RMT union announced a potential “memorandum of understanding” on Wednesday with rail bosses. 

It proposes a pay rise of 5 percent or ÂŁ1,750, whichever is greater, to settle the 2022 pay dispute. That’s far below inflation and means a big pay cut in real terms. 

There would be no compulsory redundancies for now, but the guarantee runs out in just over a year’s time. And bosses make clear in the deal that they will return to the attack on jobs, flexible working and other assaults on conditions. 

Talks on the 2023 pay deal will take place at each individual company, with these attacks looming in the background. If the memorandum is accepted, the union will give up its strike mandate until well into 2024. 

An RMT member told Socialist Worker, “It’s a rubbish pay offer, and gives each train company the chance to attack terms and conditions in the new year. I am voting no, and I hope others will too.” 

Another RMT member said, “We have been striking for almost 18 months, but only occasionally. This is the result. It feels like the leadership are terrified of upping the pressure over Christmas. 

“And this avoids them confronting the new anti-union laws too. The danger is people don’t see a way forward and grab this to get the cash before Christmas. I hope that doesn’t happen.” 

The memorandum is not everything the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) bosses’ organisation wanted. They hoped to smash up the unions this year. But the attacks have not gone away. 

An RDG spokesperson said pay talks for 2023 “would be aimed at addressing the companies’ proposals on the changing needs of passengers”. They mean fattening the firms’ profits. And the Tories who have stood behind the RDG at every point will be pleased if workers accept a below-inflation deal. 

The e-ballot closes on 30 November. The best result would be for RMT members to chuck out the deal and escalate the strikes.