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Statement on impending rail strikes by Mick Lynch, RMT general secretary

DISCUSSIONS with Network Rail and the Train Operators continued today. The train operators made an offer and there was no further offer from Network Rail following the one which was rejected last Friday.

The RMT national executive committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.

It is clear that the Tory government, after slashing £4 billion of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.

The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.

At the behest of the government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.

As a result of this transport austerity, the employing companies have taken decisions to:

• Attack the Railway Pension Scheme and the TfL scheme, diluting benefits, making staff work longer and making them poorer in retirement, while paying increased contributions.

• Cut thousands of jobs across the rail network while not giving a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

• Cutting safety inspections on the infrastructure by 50 per cent in order to facilitate mass redundancies.

• Attack terms, conditions and working practices in a form of internal fire and rehire, including lowering existing salaries and increasing the working week.

• Re-starting the disputes on the role and responsibility of the guard and massive cuts to catering services.

• Closing every ticket office in Britain regardless of the accessibility needs of the diversity of passengers.

• Cutting real pay for most of our members through lengthy pay freezes and well below RPI inflation pay proposals.

Faced with such an aggressive agenda of cuts to jobs, conditions, pay and pensions, RMT has no choice but to defend our members industrially to stop this race to the bottom.

The strikes on Network Rail, the Train Operators and London Underground will go ahead, and we again call on our members to stand firm, support the action, mount the pickets and demonstrate their willingness to fight for workplace justice.

The RMT supports the campaign for a square deal for all working people in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, and our current campaign is a part of that more general campaign which means that public services have to be properly funded and all workers properly paid with good conditions.

RMT remains available for discussions that will settle this dispute and ensure our transport system can operate without disruption.

Mick Lynch - RMT general secretary


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