RMT members vote to continue taking industrial action

Railway workers have voted to continue taking industrial action in their long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said a fresh ballot of its members showed overwhelming support to carry on with action.

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

The RMT said the average turnout among its members in Network Rail and 14 train operating companies was 70.2% with a ‘yes’ vote of over 90%.

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

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch 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.”

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s chief negotiator, said: “The only way to solve this dispute, for both our people and our passengers, is around the negotiating table, which is why we look forward to continuing intensive talks in the days ahead with the hope of finding a breakthrough and an amicable solution for all.

“What’s clear for all of us is that striking is not changing the railway’s precarious financial position, but actually only making it worse. The railway has not recovered from the pandemic and is currently losing millions of pounds a day, which makes reaching a deal both tough and essential.”

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.”