Train strike stalemate ends as RMT union votes in favour of latest pay offer

·2-min read

The train strike stalement, which has seen numerous walkouts by rail workers over the last six months, may finally be at an end after RMT union members voted in favour of the latest pay offer from Network Rail by a large majority.

A total of 15,754 members voted, representing a turn-out of nearly 90 per cent. Of those who voted, 12,047 were in favour – a majority of 76:24 in favour of ending the strike action that began nine months ago.

In a statement the union said: “The RMT National Executive has announced that the vote means the end of the trade dispute with Network Rail.”

The deal includes a pay rise of 9.2 per cent covering last year and this year, with an extra uplift for lower-paid workers, with extended discounted rail travel benefits.

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “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.”

Network Rail’s chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: “I’m pleased that RMT members were able to vote on this offer and the overwhelming vote in favour is good news for our people, our passengers and our country.

“My team and I will now focus all our efforts on rebuilding our railway so we can provide a better service for our passengers and freight customers.”

The RMT remains in dispute with the 14 train operators contracted by the Department for Transport (DfT).

A “best and final offer” was put to the union last month by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), representing train operators – and signed off by ministers.

But the RMT leadership rejected it after what the union called “an in-depth consultation” of members.

Unlike the Network Rail offer, the deal was not put to a referendum of members.

Mr Lynch, described it as a “dreadful offer”.

But after a large majority of Network Rail staff voted to settle, the transport secretary, Mark Harper, said: “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.”

The latest wave of national strikes began last Thursday, with walk-outs planned for Thursday 30 March and Saturday 1 April.

Mr Lynch said: “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.”