Christmas hopes pinned on rail strikes deal

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Christmas come early: RMT confirms members will vote on a new deal (Credit: Getty/Monty Rakusen)
Christmas come early: RMT confirms members will vote on a new deal (Credit: Getty/Monty Rakusen)

Related tags Legislation Government Travel ukhospitality

Christmas will “come early” for hospitality businesses if RMT members vote in agreement of a new deal that could see the end of rail strikes.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) today (Wednesday 8 November) confirmed its members in each of the train operating companies will vote on new proposals put forward, including a backdated 2022 pay rise for staff and job security guarantees.

Described by the trade union as a “mutually agreed way forward”, If accepted, the deal would terminate the national dispute mandate, creating a pause and respite from industrial action over the Christmas period and into Spring next year, allowing for important negotiations on proposed reforms to take place.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Christmas ​will have come early for hospitality businesses if this breakthrough in negotiations puts an end to ongoing rail strikes and saves the incredibly valuable festive period for the sector.

Clear resolution 

“The uncertainty and looming threat of rail strikes at Christmas​ was already knocking consumer confidence, with 4 in 10 businesses finding their bookings behind where they were last year.”

Earlier this year, UKH estimated the sector had lost £3.5bn due to the industrial action, which has been ongoing for some 18 months, adding the sector had been “collateral damage” ​during the rail strikes.

“A clear resolution would give the public the confidence they need to firm up their plans for the festive period and would, crucially, avoid hospitality businesses losing millions”, Nicholls continued.

Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA​) CEO Michael Kill also asserted the development was "positive", adding industrial action over the festive season would have been "devastating" for the sector.

Welcome development 

"We have consistently advocated for meaningful progress in these negotiations, as the industrial action has inflicted significant financial losses on the industry for some time.

"Let's hope this breakthrough leads to the much-anticipated end of strikes", he said. 

RMT added discussions would be aimed at addressing proposals on the changing needs and expectations of passengers as well as unlocking further increases for staff, in order to help to secure a “sustainable, long-term future” for the railway and those who work on it.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch stated: "This is a welcome development, and our members will now decide in an e-referendum whether they want to accept this new offer from the Rail Delivery Group."

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