The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) released two bits of news this week, one good and one bad – at least from the perspective of bars and the people who frequent them.
Good news first: The RMT has agreed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with train operating companies, meaning industrial action taken by overland train crews has been put on hold until at least March 2024, while the various union memberships vote on a new proposal to end the long-running dispute over pay and job security. In a rare moment of positivity, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a welcome development and our members will now decide in an e-referendum whether they want to accept this new offer…”
However, and in keeping with the principle that life gives with one hand and takes away with the other, RMT members yesterday voted to extend the union’s mandate for strike action on the London Underground. Given industrial action is designed to create as much disruption as possible in order to apply pressure to TFL’s negotiators, strikes will almost certainly be called over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Reverting to type, Mick Lynch said: “I congratulate our members on delivering another impressive Yes vote in our campaign on pensions, jobs and working conditions on London Underground… Our union will now consider the results and the next steps in this campaign.”
If you are lucky enough to have Christmas off, you will be able to travel by train to go and see your folks, wherever they may be. But if you are working in London, you probably won’t be able to get back to your flat without paying for a surge-priced Uber or enduring a night bus full of office warriors and vomit.