TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has urged the Transport Secretary to be “proactive and committed” in finding a settlement to the ongoing national rail dispute after her speech to the Conservative Conference suggested there was hope of breaking the months long impasse.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was appointed to the role after Liz Truss became Prime Minister, told Tories gathered in Birmingham that “there is a deal to be done between the trade unions and the train operators”.
She called on the unions to “take your seats at the negotiating table” to find what she termed “a landing zone we can all work with”.
TSSA has been in dispute with Department for Transport (DfT) Train Operating Companies and Network Rail over pay, job security and conditions for months, sparked by cuts to the railways ordered by the Tories under Boris Johnson, and years of pay freezes.
Strike action and other industrial action is continuing this week after the biggest walkout on the railways yet, last Saturday (Oct 1).
Commenting, union leader Cortes said: “We have been calling for the DfT Train Operators (TOCs) to come to the table with a meaningful offer for months, yet we have seen no talks at all since July.
“If Anne-Marie Trevelyan is a new broom in her new role as Transport Secretary then that is to be welcomed. However, she needs to be proactive and committed, unlike her predecessor who was an obstacle to progress.
“Clearly we want a negotiated settlement to this dispute and hopefully, having heard the Secretary of State today, the DfT TOCs will now be coming back to the negotiating table with a revised offer.
“They must drop their previous demands for unilateral imposition of changes on our railway, and instead embark on discussions with us about what the future holds for our industry.
“Our union is not against reform - we recently celebrated our 125th birthday so we well know that change in our industry is a constant. In that spirit I’m pleased Anne-Marie Trevelyan has recognised the value of booking offices which are vital to so many communities and passengers across our country.”