Mark Harper: There is no ‘bottomless pit’ of money to improve RMT’s offer

Mark Harper: There is no ‘bottomless pit’ of money to improve RMT’s offer

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has insisted that an offer made to the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in a bid to break a deadlocked dispute over wages, jobs and conditions will not be improved.

The cabinet minister said there was “no bottomless pit” of money available to rail workers.

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

Harper was asked on a visit to a business near his Forest of Dean constituency if rejecting the offer would be “the end of it.”



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 have an opportunity to have their views on that.

Mark Harper, Secretary of Transportation

He told the BBC: “It is. I have made it very clear that there is no such thing as a bottomless pit for taxpayer money.

“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 have an opportunity to have their views on that.”

Harper went on to tell the PA news agency that he has “tried to change the tone” of the debate since he became Secretary of Transportation in October last year.

He continued: “I secured and helped facilitate some fair and reasonable payment offers.

“And I fervently hope that those salary offers now have the opportunity to be presented to the members of those unions, so that they will accept them and help make the railways work more effectively for passengers.”

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

Train services have been decimated by a series of rail worker strikes since June 2022.

Talks continued this week in an attempt to resolve the dispute between RMT and Network Rail.

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

“We have been in these conversations for more than two years and we believe that the way forward is to sit down calmly and calmly, look at the details of what is on the table so that people have a chance to realize the value of the offer. . and then submit it to a referendum.

“I’m sure if people get a chance to understand what the deal really is, they’ll say we’ve had enough of the strike, it’s a fair deal, let’s get back to work, let’s start restoring pride in British railways.”

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