Leaders of rail unions split on BR peace offer

RAIL union leaders are deeply split over British Rail's final offer to end the dispute over job security in the run-up to privatisation.

While the executive of the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has narrowly rejected the package, leaders of maintenance workers believe the assurances from management are sufficient to end the campaign of 24-hour strikes, it emerged yesterday. Internal divisions in the rail unions make a resumption of industrial action unlikely and mean the probable end to any threat of a 'summer of discontent'.

The National Union of Mineworkers will find it hard to soldier on alone for long in protest at pit closures, having synchronised strikes with rail workers.

An NUM election in which two supporters of Arthur Scargill have been replaced makes his hold on the union tenuous. The first meeting of the new executive, scheduled for 6 May, will face calls for an end to stoppages after management claims that an increasing number of NUM members were defying the strikes.

Firefighters - the other possible participants in a summer of discontent - are unlikely to take action to defend their pay mechanism until later this year.

In the rail industry, members of the RMT are to be balloted on fresh disruption after their executive turned down the new offer, but failed to secure a two-thirds majority needed to order further stoppages.

The 67,000-strong RMT is by far the biggest union at BR, but acceptance of the deal by leaders of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions which covers 5,000 maintenance workers, will severely weaken RMT's position.

Industrial action has already been undermined by the agreement of the 16,000-strong train drivers' union Aslef to resume normal working. Aslef joined the other unions in the second of two strikes, although they were involved in a separate dispute.

The confederation has not formally accepted BR's offer, but its leadership is virtually certain to do so whatever the result of the RMT ballot.

Confederation members at BR's workshops have been told that management does not foresee the need for compulsory redundancies over the next 12 months - a statement which addresses one of their central concerns. Members of RMT have been offered assurances extending over the next 'couple of years'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk