The new British Minister of Railways, Hugh Merriman, and representatives of the railway companies have scheduled a meeting with RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch this Friday (December 2). Following last week’s preliminary meeting between Lynch and Harper, the transport secretary made headlines in the media about the impossibility of a pay increase without reform, saying that working methods must change if the union wants wage demands to be met. Railway Supply magazine writes about this with reference to RailFreight.

Strike

Whilst I have accepted the offer this lack of urgency from the government is astonishing’, said an irate Lynch. “By this Friday more than a week will have passed since I met the Secretary of State [for Transport] without an offer being put on the table. Time is running out.

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The union’s letter states that they understand the impact of rail strikes on the economy, in particular on the hotel and leisure sectors. “While you are experiencing disruption to your business during this critical time, the private rail companies we are arguing with will not lose a penny. Although railroad companies are employers of strike personnel, the government has decided to protect these private railroad companies from liability for any loss of income resulting from strikes. It also ensures that the railroad companies can continue to make profits despite the strike.”

According to figures provided by RMT, which they say are from parliamentary sources, the UK government has provided £318 million (€350 million) in compensation to all operators involved to cover strike costs. “If these strikes continue, the railway companies will still continue to profit at the expense of the taxpayers. This clearly prolongs our argument.”

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