Mark Harper: There is no bottomless pit to improve the RMT offering

Mark Harper: There is no bottomless pit to improve the RMT offering

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has insisted an offer be made to the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) to end deadlocked disputes over wages, jobs and working conditions.

The cabinet minister said there was “a bottomless pit” of money available to railway workers.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents rail operators, has described its proposal to the RMT of a 9% minimum wage increase over two years as its “best and last offer”.

During a visit to a company near his Forest of Dean constituency, Mr Harper was asked if rejecting the offer would be “the end”.



I think they have a very fair offer and it’s comparable to what you have in the private sector and I hope union members get a chance to make their views known

Mark Harper, Secretary of Transport

He told the BBC: “That’s it. I have made it very clear that there is no bottomless pit for taxpayers’ money.

“I think they have a very fair offer and it’s comparable to what you have in the private sector and I hope members of the union get an opportunity to make their views known.”

Mr Harper went on to tell the PA news agency he had been “trying to change the tone” of the debate since becoming Transport Secretary in October last year.

He continued: “I have ensured and helped facilitate some fair and reasonable salary offers.

“And I really hope that these wage offers now have an opportunity to be put before the members of these unions to be accepted so that the railroads can work more effectively for passengers.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said Thursday the union executive would review the offer and decide on next steps “in due course”.

Train services have been decimated by a series of strikes by railway workers since June 2022.

Talks continued this week to settle the dispute between RMT and Network Rail.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines told the PA: “I don’t think there will be any more money on the table as part of this now, the Government has made that very, very clear.

“We’ve been having these conversations for over two years now and we think the way forward is to sit down coolly and calmly and look at the details of what’s on the table so people have a chance to appreciate the value of what’s on the table.” recognizing the offer. and then put that through a referendum.

“I’m confident that when people get a chance to understand what the offer really is they will say we’ve had enough strike action, this is a fair deal, let’s get back to work, let’s with it begin to restore pride in British railways.”

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