Britain's RMT union accepts improved pay offer from Network Rail

LONDON (Reuters) - Rail workers at Britain's RMT trade union have voted to accept an improved pay offer from Network Rail, ending a long-running dispute with the organisation which owns and maintains train infrastructure, the union said on Monday.

Earlier this month, the rail union suspended planned strike action, which has caused widespread disruption to the rail network on several days over the last few months, to hold a referendum on the improved offer from Network Rail.

"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," RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said in a statement.

The RMT, which represents 20,000 Network Rail members, said turnout in the ballot was nearly 90%, with 76% voting to back the improved offer covering pay, jobs and conditions.

The offer included an uplift on salaries of between 14.4% for the lowest paid grades to 9.2% for the highest paid, the union said.

The union remains locked in another pay dispute with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents more than a dozen train operators. Further strikes by those RMT members are due to take place on March 30 and April 1.

Transport minister Mark Harper said he was pleased Network Rail’s RMT members had voted to accept the offer, and called on the union to put the RDG's offer to its members.

"I am once again urging the RMT to call off their upcoming strikes across train operating companies, put the Rail Delivery Group offer to a vote, and give all of their members a say," he said in a statement.

Britain has been struck by waves disruptive of 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.

(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman and Kylie MacLellan; editing by William James)