RMT members at Network Rail accept offer to end pay dispute

The union remains in dispute with train operators and plans two fresh strikes next week

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, sixth left in blue jacket, joins union members on the picket line during a rail strike outside Euston station in London. AP
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Members of the RMT trade union in Network Rail have voted overwhelmingly to accept an improved pay offer, putting an end to a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

The government and Network Rail welcomed the ballot result, but the RMT remains in dispute with train operators and plans two fresh strikes next week.

The union's general secretary, Mick Lynch, said that the deal was accepted clearly by their members and that the dispute is now over.

Strike action and the inspiring solidarity and determination of members has secured new money and a new offer," Mr Lynch said.

“Our dispute with the train operating companies remains firmly on and our members' recent highly effective strike action across the 14 train companies has shown their determination to secure a better deal."

In a turnout of about 90 per cent, RMT members voted by 76 per cent to 24 per cent in favour of the offer, which includes an uplift on salaries of between 14.4 per cent for the lowest paid grades to 9.2 per cent for the highest paid, increased back pay, a no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025 and rail travel benefits.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper expressed his pleasure that RMT members at Network Rail have voted to accept a “fair and reasonable” pay offer that the government worked hard to facilitate.

However, Mr Harper called on the RMT to call off their coming strikes across train operating companies, put the Rail Delivery Group offer to a vote and give all of their members a say.

“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," Mr Harper said.

“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”.

Britain has been struck by waves of disruptive strike action over the past few months as increasing numbers of transport, health, education and public sector workers demand better wages to keep pace with surging inflation and cost of living.

The recent ballot result will come as a relief to passengers and freight customers, who have experienced widespread disruption to the rail network on several days over the last few months.

Network Rail's chief executive, Andrew Haines, said he was pleased with the result and that he and his team will now focus all their efforts on rebuilding the railway so they can provide a better service for their customers.

“I'm grateful for everyone who worked so hard at Network Rail and in the RMT to find a way through this dispute," Mr Haines said.

Updated: March 21, 2023, 6:50 AM