RMT Union Members at Network Rail Accept Pay Offer but Disputes Continue With Train Operators

Members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail have voted overwhelmingly in favour of accepting an offer to end the dispute that has caused a series of strikes in recent months. The union said the deal includes an uplift on salaries of between 14.4 percent for the lowest paid grades to 9.2 percent for the highest paid, increased back pay, a no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025, and rail travel benefits. According to the union, in the ballot which attracted a turnout of nearly 90 percent, 76 percent of members voted in favour of the offer. The deal covers signal workers and maintenance staff at Network Rail, which owns and maintains the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland, and Wales. But the RMT remains in dispute with train operators and plans two fresh strikes on March 30 and April 1. Nevertheless, the deal is seen as a breakthrough and has been welcomed by all parties to the dispute. Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union, on the picket line outside London Euston train station in an undated file photo. (Stefan Rousseau/PA) ‘Highly Effective’ Strikes RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said, “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.” But he said that the RMT’s dispute with the train operating companies “remains firmly on,” adding that the union’s “recent highly effective strike action across the 14 train companies has shown their determination to secure a better deal.” The union boss said the RMT will go ahead with planned strikes at train operators unless the government “allows the train companies to make the right offer.” The RMT added that Network Rail has withdrawn its previous insistence that the offer was conditional on the union accepting the company “modernising maintenance” agenda, which the union will continue to scrutinise and challenge. ‘Overdue’ Both Network Rail and the government said they were “pleased” with the result. Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said: “I’m pleased that RMT members were able to vote on this offer and the overwhelming vote in favour is good news for our people, our passengers, and our country. I’m grateful for everyone who worked so hard at Network Rail and in the RMT to find a way through this dispute.” Transport Secretary Mark Harper arrives for a government’s Cobra emergency committee meeting at the Cabinet Office in London, on Dec. 14, 2022. (Victoria Jones/PA Media) Transport Secretary Mark Harper said he is “pleased” that the “fair and reasonable” offer has been accepted, which he said “the government worked hard to facilitate.” But he added: “While this is good news, unfortunately RMT members who work for train operating companies are not being given the same chance to bring their dispute to an end. That’s because the RMT has refused to put the Rail Delivery Group’s very similar offer to a vote, denying these members the pay rise they deserve.” Harper urged the RMT to call off its planned strikes across train operating companies and put the Rail Delivery Group offer to a vote so as to “give all of their members a say.” The main opposition Labour Party has also welcomed the Network Rail deal, but the party’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said it was “overdue.” She told the House of Commons, “After 10 months in which the government refused to negotiate, and—according to the chief executive of Network Rail—engaged in ‘noisy political rhetoric’ that had been counterproductive to negotiations, finally a compromise has been done.” ‘Encouraging’ Business groups said the progress is “encouraging” and called for continued efforts on all sides to end the ongoing disputes in the rail sector. Adam Tyndall, programme director for transport at London business group BusinessLDN, said: “The vote by RMT members to accept this offer is a step towards restoring confidence in Britain’s public transport network and shows how the government, unions, and operators can work successfully to resolve disputes. “The agreement offers a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for those businesses that have been hit hard by disruption, including in the hospitality and retail sectors. But there is still more to do to end the months of disruption for businesses across the capital. “We hope this positive step encourages all sides in the remaining disputes to reach agreements so businesses and Londoners can plan for the longer term and give fresh energy to the economic recovery.” UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is encouraging news for hospitality businesses, who may dare to hope that their role as collateral damage in this dispute could be coming to an end. “There’s plenty still to be done, of course, with ongoing negotiations between other employee groups, but I hope that this agreement paves the w

RMT Union Members at Network Rail Accept Pay Offer but Disputes Continue With Train Operators

Members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail have voted overwhelmingly in favour of accepting an offer to end the dispute that has caused a series of strikes in recent months.

The union said the deal includes an uplift on salaries of between 14.4 percent for the lowest paid grades to 9.2 percent for the highest paid, increased back pay, a no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025, and rail travel benefits.

According to the union, in the ballot which attracted a turnout of nearly 90 percent, 76 percent of members voted in favour of the offer.

The deal covers signal workers and maintenance staff at Network Rail, which owns and maintains the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland, and Wales.

But the RMT remains in dispute with train operators and plans two fresh strikes on March 30 and April 1.

Nevertheless, the deal is seen as a breakthrough and has been welcomed by all parties to the dispute.

Epoch Times Photo
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union, on the picket line outside London Euston train station in an undated file photo. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

‘Highly Effective’ Strikes

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said, “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.”

But he said that the RMT’s dispute with the train operating companies “remains firmly on,” adding that the union’s “recent highly effective strike action across the 14 train companies has shown their determination to secure a better deal.”

The union boss said the RMT will go ahead with planned strikes at train operators unless the government “allows the train companies to make the right offer.”

The RMT added that Network Rail has withdrawn its previous insistence that the offer was conditional on the union accepting the company “modernising maintenance” agenda, which the union will continue to scrutinise and challenge.

‘Overdue’

Both Network Rail and the government said they were “pleased” with the result.

Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said: “I’m pleased that RMT members were able to vote on this offer and the overwhelming vote in favour is good news for our people, our passengers, and our country. I’m grateful for everyone who worked so hard at Network Rail and in the RMT to find a way through this dispute.”

Epoch Times Photo
Transport Secretary Mark Harper arrives for a government’s Cobra emergency committee meeting at the Cabinet Office in London, on Dec. 14, 2022. (Victoria Jones/PA Media)

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said he is “pleased” that the “fair and reasonable” offer has been accepted, which he said “the government worked hard to facilitate.”

But he added: “While this is good news, unfortunately RMT members who work for train operating companies are not being given the same chance to bring their dispute to an end. That’s because the RMT has refused to put the Rail Delivery Group’s very similar offer to a vote, denying these members the pay rise they deserve.”

Harper urged the RMT to call off its planned strikes across train operating companies and put the Rail Delivery Group offer to a vote so as to “give all of their members a say.”

The main opposition Labour Party has also welcomed the Network Rail deal, but the party’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said it was “overdue.”

She told the House of Commons, “After 10 months in which the government refused to negotiate, and—according to the chief executive of Network Rail—engaged in ‘noisy political rhetoric’ that had been counterproductive to negotiations, finally a compromise has been done.”

‘Encouraging’

Business groups said the progress is “encouraging” and called for continued efforts on all sides to end the ongoing disputes in the rail sector.

Adam Tyndall, programme director for transport at London business group BusinessLDN, said: “The vote by RMT members to accept this offer is a step towards restoring confidence in Britain’s public transport network and shows how the government, unions, and operators can work successfully to resolve disputes.

“The agreement offers a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for those businesses that have been hit hard by disruption, including in the hospitality and retail sectors. But there is still more to do to end the months of disruption for businesses across the capital.

“We hope this positive step encourages all sides in the remaining disputes to reach agreements so businesses and Londoners can plan for the longer term and give fresh energy to the economic recovery.”

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is encouraging news for hospitality businesses, who may dare to hope that their role as collateral damage in this dispute could be coming to an end.

“There’s plenty still to be done, of course, with ongoing negotiations between other employee groups, but I hope that this agreement paves the way for rail and Tube strikes to end completely.

“Venues across the country have so far incurred lost sales upwards of £3 billion and would have struggled immensely to deal with that level of ongoing disruption.

“I would encourage everyone involved to continue their urgent negotiations and bring to an end strikes that have heaped misery on businesses, consumers, and workers for almost a year.”