Sheffield TUC says: “WELL DONE, RMT!”
BREAKTHROUGH IN TALKS WITH NORTHERN RAIL AS STRIKES CALLED OFF
Sheffield Trade Union Council sends its warmest wishes to striking RMT members who – after 47 days of solid strike action- have ended their strike action on Northern Rail. This comes after a major breakthrough in the talks between RMT union and employer Northern Rail, brokered by ACAS.
The strike action by RMT was over the retention and future role of guards on trains. Northern Rail had threatened to operate some trains without a “second person” and also downgrade the guard’s role to remove his/her hugely important safety functions. There is no doubt this was one of the consequences of the Government’s infamous McNulty Report which seeks to strip out costs to the taxpayer of running our hugely expensive privatised railway.
The RMT has reported ‘substantial progress in talks’ involving conciliation service ACAS and said Northern have ‘now offered a guarantee of a conductor on all trains’. The union said the guarantee was ‘supported’ by the Department of Transport. As a result, the union’s executive said it had suspended the ongoing programme of strike action on Northern services.
Chris Grayling Secretary of State for Transport has been much criticised for underwriting the costs of the dispute to Northern Rail, widely reported to be £24M. If this is true, it has proved to be a massive waste of public money as it has only prolonged a dispute that Northern and the Government have been forced to climb down from.
Sheffield TUC is proud to have offered practical and financial solidarity support to members of RMT Sheffield and District All Grades Branch, as have many other local trade union branches, local Labour party activists, campaign groups and members of the public. The strike remained impressively solid throughout and far from losing public support, continued to win support from passengers and the public alike as the reasons for the strike became clearer.
We have no hesitation in saying “Well Done, RMT!”