Following pressure from TSSA, talks with industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) will now take place on Tuesday 8 November. The talks are intended to break the deadlock in the ongoing rail dispute, with RDG representing train operating companies. Talks with Network Rail are at an advanced stage and continue this week.
Late on Friday 4 November, TSSA received a letter from the Rail Delivery Group (see below) proposing “a two‐week period of intensive talks commencing from Monday 7th November” with the aim of progressing issues via talks. TSSA has been pushing for dates for talks since August so accepted and as part of the arrangement all TSSA industrial action for the coming fortnight was cancelled.
Despite the assurances given on Friday, no invite to the meeting for talks arrived so on Monday morning, TSSA Organising Director Luke Chester and TSSA President Mick Carney visited the RDG headquarters to demand the promised talks.
“It’s an unacceptable way to treat our members and that’s the message we gave the RDG in person this morning” explained Luke. “Rail workers deserve some job security and a pay rise after years of pay freezes and working on the front line through the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our pressure through strikes and industrial action, along with our lobbying and campaign work and ultimately our industrial muscle has dragged the government and employers back to the negotiating table – exactly where they should have been all along. We’re fully committed to ensuring the best outcome for our members across the rail industry. We know that where TSSA is in the room we can secure strong outcomes for our members, and that’s exactly what we’re focused on these next two weeks.”
TSSA President Mick Carney added: “When we agreed to intensive talks starting today and called off strike action we met our part of the bargain. Someone at RDG needs to understand that Tuesday is not the same as Monday, but regardless, we’re ready and focused for these talks.”