RMT members vote to continue strikes and industrial action in long-running pay dispute

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union accuses the Government of prolonging the rail dispute (PA Wire)
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union accuses the Government of prolonging the rail dispute (PA Wire)

Members of the RMT have voted to continue taking industrial action in the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, the RMT announced.

General secretary Mick Lynch said that it was a massive endorsement of the union’s strategy to win workplace justice through negotiation where possible and industrial action if necessary.

He said: “The National Executive Committee will now look at these fantastic results and negotiations will continue with Network Rail and the train operating companies.

“This union is determined to continue with this campaign until the employers understand that they need to respond to our members’ aspirations on job security, pay and working conditions.”

Under employment law, the union had to re-ballot its members six months after a previous vote.

RMT said the average turnout among its members in Network Rail and 14 train operating companies was 70.2 per cent with a 'yes' vote of over 90 per cent.

It means RMT members in these areas will be able to take strike action for potentially another six-month period.

University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said: “A whopping 91.7 per cent of members voted yes to carry on industrial action.

“Levels of support and democratic participation that this Tory government have never (and will never) experience!”

The Department for Transport said: “It’s disappointing, despite recent positive developments, that the RMT has voted for up to six more months of damaging and disruptive strikes. Strikes that will not only continue to force people up and down the country into missing school, work or vital medical appointments but will now potentially throw the Christmas plans of millions into turmoil too.

“Our railway is in desperate need of modernisation and we once again urge union bosses to work with employers, not against them, and come to an agreement which is fair for passengers, taxpayers and workers alike. The very future of the industry depends on it.”

Steve Montgomery, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group, said: "Passengers will be dismayed by this outcome. We recognise the strength of feeling among our people, and call on the RMT leadership to continue to work with us to agree the vital reforms necessary to both afford a fair pay deal, and secure a sustainable future for the railway which is currently taking more than its fair share from the taxpayer.

"Further counterproductive strike action would only heap more misery on our customers and struggling businesses in the run-up to Christmas, and continue to undermine the viability of an industry we all want to see thrive."