Train drivers are offered a £5,000 pay rise if they agree to end their bitter dispute and the strikes that have caused chaos on Britain’s railways
- Rail Delivery Group is said it will deliver more reliable services for passengers
- This would be in exchange for a backdated pay increase
- Drivers would have to call off strikes and commit to working Sunday shifts
Train drivers were last night offered a pay rise worth an average of almost £5,000 to end their bitter dispute.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said it was offering a ‘landmark outline proposal’ that would deliver more reliable services for passengers, in exchange for a backdated pay increase of four per cent for 2022, followed by another 4 per cent this year.
In return, drivers would have to call off their strikes and commit to working Sunday shifts in their contracts. The RDG said the offer to the drivers’ union Aslef would see the salary for an experienced driver rise from an average £60,000 to almost £65,000.
The offer would also guarantee there will be no compulsory redundancies until at least the end of March next year.
Pictured: A strike by drivers from the Aslef union outside Ramsgate station in Kent (file photo)
Steve Montgomery, chairman of the RDG, said: ‘This is a fair and affordable offer in challenging times, providing a significant uplift in salary for train drivers while bringing in common sense and long-overdue reforms that would drive up reliability for passengers.
‘With taxpayers still funding up to an extra £175million a month to make up the shortfall in revenue post-Covid, these changes are also vital for us to be able to fund the pay rise our people deserve. Instead of staging yet more damaging strike action and holding back changes that will improve services, we urge Aslef to work with us to bring an end to the dispute for our people, our passengers and the future of Britain’s railways.’
An Aslef spokesman said last night the union had not yet received the offer but would give it ‘due consideration’ ahead of a scheduled meeting with Transport Secretary Mark Harper on Monday.
Pictured: Trains during a strike by train drivers from the Aslef union (file photo). The Rail Delivery Group said it was offering a ‘landmark outline proposal’ that would deliver more reliable services for passengers, in exchange for a backdated pay increase of four per cent for 2022, followed by another 4 per cent this year
However, an Aslef source said the decision to release details of the offer to the media before discussing it with the union suggested the employers were ‘not serious’ about ending the dispute.
And earlier this week Aslef chief Mick Whelan said train drivers could continue striking in solidarity with the RMT even if they were offered a better pay deal. He added that the threat to the rail industry was ‘existential’, adding: ‘We may well be out for safety reasons.’
Elsewhere, RMT union baron Mick Lynch yesterday vowed to ‘fight it out in the streets’ to block new anti-strike laws – as the Treasury warned it could not fund pay rises above 3.5 per cent this year.
The union launched another 48-hour strike yesterday. Mr Lynch said members were ready to battle Rishi Sunak’s plans for new laws that would force them to provide minimum services during strikes.
Mick Lynch yesterday vowed to ‘fight it out in the streets’ to block new anti-strike laws – as the Treasury warned it could not fund pay rises above 3.5 per cent this year
The Prime Minister’s new plans would allow employers to sue unions and sack staff who refuse to provide essential services.
Mr Lynch said: ‘Once it’s drafted, we’ll fight it in Parliament. We’ll fight it out in the streets if we can get mass demonstrations going.
‘We need the entire trade union movement and all democrats in this country to stand up against this suppression of human rights.’
Mr Sunak said: ‘We want to have a grown-up, honest conversation with all union leaders about what is responsible, what is reasonable and what is affordable for our country.’
Ambulance workers in the Unite union have announced another strike in their row over pay and staff.
Pictured: Train in countryside (file photo). The Rail Delivery Group said the offer to the drivers’ union Aslef would see the salary for an experienced driver rise from an average £60,000 to almost £65,000
Unite said its members will walk out on January 23 but will work with local trusts to ensure ‘live and limb’ cover for the most serious calls.
Saffron Cordery, representing NHS trusts, said: ‘Another strike will pile even more pressure on already overstretched NHS services.
‘Trusts fear that more strikes will just make an extremely challenging situation worse.
‘There must be serious talks, specifically about pay, between the Government and unions to avert any more strikes.’
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