RMT union suspends Network Rail strikes after ‘new offer’ from employer

RMT union suspends Network Rail strikes after ‘new offer’ from employer

The RMT union has announced it is suspending all strike action on Network Rail following a new pay offer from the employer.

Tuesday’s breakthrough means union workers at Network Rail will no longer be walking out on March 16 as planned.

However planned RMT strikes across 14 train operators on the same day, as well as March 18 and 30, and April 1, look set to go ahead.

In a brief statement on Tuesday evening, the union said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has taken the decision to suspend all industrial action on Network Rail following receipt of a new offer from the employer.

“Further updates will be given on all aspects of the national rail dispute in the coming days.”

The move in the long-running pay dispute follows months of transport strikes that have brought chaos to millions of travellers in London and across the UK, though will still require a vote of members before it is approved.

An RMT picket line (PA Wire)
An RMT picket line (PA Wire)

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We are relieved for our people, passengers and freight customers that industrial action in Network Rail has now been suspended. We look forward to further information on plans for a referendum.”

A planned Tube strike on March 15 is still set to proceed as the union is involved in a separate dispute with Transport for London.

The latest development comes after rail operators issued a fresh ultimatum to union leader Mick Lynch earlier in the week.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train companies in the ongoing talks over pay and conditions, told the RMT national level talks may not resume unless its “best and final” offer was put to union members.

Speaking on Monday, Transport Secretary Mark Harper asked the union to let members consider the “good” pay offer on the table.

He said: “I was very pleased that the members of the TSSA, one of the rail unions, accepted the offers from both the train operating companies and Network Rail.

“That’s good to see, they are fair and reasonable offers that have been delivered. They’re the best and final offers.

“I would urge the RMT to put the offers that they’ve had to their members and let their members make the decision, and I think they’re good offers.

“And I think that their members ought to accept them and I hope the rail union RMT reconsiders their decision not even to put those offers to their members.

“And if we get those offers delivered, we can all work together to deliver a better railway for passengers.”