Rail strikes: RMT Union members vote to accept pay offer from Network Rail - are rail strikes over?

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RMT union members at Network Rail have voted to accept a revised pay offer from Network Rail.

Network Rail staff including signallers and track maintenance workers have voted to accept the revised pay offer, which amounts to a pay rise of up to 14.4% for the lowest paid and 9.2% for the highest paid. Despite the agreement, rail strikes will not end as staff working for train companies are part of separate disputes.

Network Rail owns, operates, maintains and develops Britain’s railway infrastructure. They are described as an “arm’s length" public body of the Department for Transport with no shareholders, which reinvests its income in the railways.

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The accepted offer also equates to a total uplift in basic earnings between 15.2% for the lowest-paid grades, to 10.3% for the highest-paid grades. According to the RMT Union, 55% of members in Network Rail earn less than £35,000, meaning most will be entitled to the 15.2% increase over two years.

While RMT did not issue a recommendation to members on if they should accept or reject the offer, it did suspend strikes white the ballot was held. Other components of the deal include 75% off leisure travel - a long-held demand of Network Rail members.

Today’s result does not mean an end to rail strikes as RMT members who work for individual train companies are set to continue industrial action. Passengers will still face disruption from walkouts scheduled for 30 March and 1 April as there is still no deal yet with the 14 train operating companies represented by the Rail Delivery Group

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that when the union first declared the dispute with Network Rail a year ago in the spring of 2022, RMT was told that Network Rail workers would only get two per cent to three per cent.

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“However, since then strike action and the inspiring solidarity and determination of members has secured new money and a new offer which has been clearly accepted by our members and that dispute is now over.

“Our dispute with the Train Operating Companies remains firmly on and our members’ recent highly effective strike action across the fourteen train companies has shown their determination to secure a better deal.

Passengers are being warned to brace for disruption (Photo: Getty Images)Passengers are being warned to brace for disruption (Photo: Getty Images)
Passengers are being warned to brace for disruption (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

“If the government now allows the train companies to make the right offer, we can then put that to our members but until then the strike action scheduled for March 30 and April 1 will take place.

“The ball is in the government’s court,” he said.

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