St Pancras station strike sign

UK: The RMT union’s National Executive has announced the end of the trade dispute with Network Rail, after members voted to accept the latest offer covering pay, jobs and conditions.

The result announced on March 20 was a 76:24 vote in favour of accepting the offer, on a turnout of nearly 90%.

RMT said the key features include:

  • an uplift on salaries of between 14·4% for the lowest paid grades to 9·2% for the highest paid;
  • a total uplift on basic earnings between 15·2% for the lowest paid grades to 10·3% for the highest paid grades. This represents an additional 1·1% over the duration of the deal;
  • increased backpay;
  • renewal of the no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025;
  • Network Rail withdrawing its insistence the offer was conditional on RMT accepting the company ‘modernising maintenance’ agenda, which the union will ‘continue to scrutinise and challenge including on safety’;
  • discounted rail travel benefits.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said that when the union first declared the dispute with Network Rail a year ago, it was told that Network Rail workers would only get 2% to 3%. ’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.’

The RMT dispute with 14 train operators ‘remains firmly on’, he added. ‘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.’

Commenting on the RMT’s announcement, Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said ‘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 said it was a ’fair and reasonable 5% plus 4% pay offer, over two years, that the government worked hard to facilitate’.

On the dispute with the operators, Harper said ‘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.’