Unions hailed a “new benchmark” for pay awards last night as rail workers in Liverpool were given a 7.1 per cent rise.
Merseyrail agreed the deal with the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), whose leader said that it set a path for other unions to negotiate similar agreements.
Merseyrail is one of the few franchises run without government money. It is ultimately controlled by the Labour local authority and Labour mayor.
Rail bosses described the 7.1 per cent deal as a one-off and an industry source said any prospect of it being repeated across the network was “fanciful”. The settlement is, though, the fourth such generous rise for rail workers after a 9 per cent rise for Docklands Light Railway workers and 8 per cent rises on the London Underground and Eurostar.
The average occupancy across the UK was 22 per cent, just over half of the normal rate of 40 per cent. Before the pandemic it was about 60 per cent.
But while the figures illustrate the scale of the disruption, separate analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggests that the economic impact of the strike has been reduced because of the capacity companies now have to allow employees to work from home.
Karl Thompson, an economist at the think tank, said: “The estimated £91 million cost of these strikes is almost half of the £173 million that they would have been expected to cost under 2019 homeworking levels, and almost two thirds below the £250 million cost you would have expected in the complete absence of homeworking.”