The RMT Union has voted to extend rail strikes for another six months as part of a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
The Union said that it ‘smashed’ the threshold to secure the mandate for strike action with 89.9% of members voting ‘yes’ on a 63.6% turnout.
It added that around 20,000 members were balloted across 14 rail companies.
The group posted the announcement on Twitter, which will add more misery to commuters, who have already faced three days of strikes this month.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘I congratulate our members for delivering a decisive mandate for future industrial action as we pursue a negotiated settlement of jobs pay and conditions.’
The RMT Union has voted to extend rail strikes for another six months as part of a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions (Pictured: RMT general secretary Mick Lynch)
The Union said that it ‘smashed’ the threshold to secure the mandate for strike action with 89.9 of members voting ‘yes’ on a 63.6% turnout (Stock image)
The group posted the announcement on Twitter, which will add more misery to commuters, who have already faced three days of strikes this month
Lynch continued: ‘This ringing endorsement of RMT’s approach to the dispute now means we have industrial leverage to secure an improved offer from the RDG.
‘The government who controls this dispute through a contractual mandate over the train operating companies, must now allow the Rail Delivery Group to put forward a revised offer so we can work towards reaching a settlement.
‘However, if no new offer is forthcoming, we will once again take strike action in defence of our members livelihoods.’
It is the fourth time RMT members have voted on strikes in a dispute which started in the summer of 2022.
The union has held a series of walkouts since then, causing huge disruption to rail services.
In March, the RMT’s dispute with Network Rail ended after maintenance and signalling staff accepted a deal of a 14.4 per cent pay increase for the lowest paid and a 9.2 per cent pay increase for the highest paid.
But hopes of a breakthrough in the RMT’s standoff with the train companies ended in May after the union rejected the Rail Delivery Group’s (RDG) latest proposals of a 5 per cent pay rise backdated to January last year and a 4 per cent hike for 2023.
The Government, which decides how much money is available for negotiations, described the offer at the time as ‘best and final’.
Unions involved in disputes have to re-ballot their members every six months to legally continue with strikes and other forms of action.
According to internal analysis seen by the Daily Mail, rail walkouts have cost the industry more than £900million since June 2022.
Earlier this year, rail union barons were accused of wrecking their own industry as it emerged strikes will likely cost the railways £1billion this year.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said there was an overwhelming vote in favour of further action, meaning strikes could continue untilApril
Thousands of striking rail workers have lost more in earnings than if their union bosses had accepted the latest pay offer. Pictured: RMT boss Mick Lynch with striking worker during a rally outside King’s Cross Station in London last year
The sum is enough to have settled the outstanding disputes.
The industry analysis estimates the sector has lost £30million for each of the more than 30 national strike days held by the RMT and Aslef in England over the last year.
Tory MP Greg Smith, who sits on the Commons transport committee, said the analysis showed the ‘staggering level of damage strikes do to our whole country and economy’.
Millions more has been lost to industrial action short of a strike, such as bans on overtime working. The walkouts have also hurt England’s economy just as it started to recover after the Covid-19 pandemic and amid the inflationary shockwaves caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The hospitality sector is estimated to have suffered a more than £3billion blow since last summer, with this week’s walkouts expected to wipe another £100million from takings.
A Government source said: ‘Ministers have facilitated fair and reasonable pay offers tied to reform which would secure the future of the rail industry.
‘Yet union leaders continue to block their members from having a vote on these offers and… seem hellbent on continuing to strike, doing huge damage to their own industry and driving a generation of passengers away from the railways.’
Peter Bone, the Tory MP for Wellingborough, said: ‘People will… vote with their feet and get in their cars because the railways have become so unreliable – the unions are breaking their own industry and I can’t see at all how that’s in the interests of their members.’
Recruitment website Reed estimated the average train driver salary to be £48,500 a year in the UK in 2023.
The starting salary is around £30,000 but once you gain more experience, you can earn over £65,000.
A train driver in London could earn £58,795, with more experienced operators taking home over £69,000.