Breakthrough In Rail Dispute to Avert Christmas Disruption

The RMT has confirmed it has reached a deal with train operators that could bring their long-running dispute to an end.

In a statement, the union said it had come to a “mutually agreed way forward” with the Rail Delivery Group that would see staff get a pay rise backdated to 2022 , along with “job security guarantees”.

Rail unions have staged intermittent strikes since June 2022, and the RMT called almost a month of industrial action across the 14 English train operators over last Christmas and New Year.

Businesses have said they have lost millions of pounds in revenue due to the strike action and in September the managing director of Dishoom, Brian Trollip, said he was concerned that the group could lose 3,500 bookings over Christmas if there were further stoppages during the festive period.

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.

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

“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.”

Michael Kill CEO NTIA says: “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.”

“It’s a positive development to hear that the unions and rail providers have found common ground, potentially signalling an end to industrial action at the start of a critical trading period for the sector.”

“Industrial action during the holiday season would be devastating for the industry. Let’s hope this breakthrough leads to the much-anticipated end of strikes.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch described the agreement as “a welcome development.”