RMT announces fresh rail strike dates after rejecting latest offer

The RMT has announced more walkouts next month in a long-running dispute with the government, as Sejal Karia reports

Rail, Maritime and Transport union has voted for further train strikes starting from 16 March in a long-running row over pay, jobs and conditions.

Members of the RMT will walk out on March 16, 18 and 20, and April 1, at 14 train operators.

The union’s members at Network Rail will strike on March 16 and will then launch a ban on overtime.

It comes after the biggest rail workers’ union rejected the latest offers from both Network Rail and the train operating companies last week aimed at resolving the months-long dispute.

The RMT, which represents 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operators, accused employers of refusing to put any new offers on the table.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Rail employers are not being given a fresh mandate by the government to offer our members a new deal on pay, conditions and job security.

"Therefore, our members will now take sustained and targeted industrial action over the next few months.

"The government can settle this dispute easily by unshackling the rail companies.

"However, its stubborn refusal to do so will now mean more strike action across the railway network and a very disruptive overtime ban. 

"Ministers cannot continue to sit on their hands hoping this dispute will go away as our members are fully prepared to fight tooth and nail for a negotiated settlement in the months ahead."

When will the strikes take place?

RMT members working for the 14 train operating companies will take strike action on the following days:

  • Thursday 16 March 2023

  • Saturday 18 March 2023

  • Thursday 30 March 2023

  • Saturday 1 April 2023

Network Rail members will take strike action on March 16 and March 17.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said: “Just days after denying its members a say on their own future, the RMT leadership is now trying to make them lose multiple days’ wages through yet more strikes. 

“Passengers want this dispute to end. We have facilitated fair and reasonable offers on pay and reform – with a pay rise worth 5% last year and 4% this year – but, sadly, the RMT leadership is not interested.

“Our railways are not currently financially sustainable and these best and final offers would have given workers what they want and, crucially, the passengers what they need. All more strikes will do is damage the rail industry even further and drive more passengers away.”

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail chief negotiator, accused MT’s leadership of "choosing politics over people".

"During months of talks we have made multiple concessions, compromises and offers in our determination to secure a deal," he said.

“Thousands of employees are telling us they want the improved offer that we have tabled, an offer worth at least 9% over two years – rising to over 14% for the lowest paid, provides job security with no compulsory redundancies and 75% discounted rail travel.

“But instead of offering members a democratic vote with a referendum, the RMT leadership is hiding behind a sham ‘consultation’.

“Further strikes will disrupt passengers and cost employees money – while changing nothing as our package of very modest reforms continues.

“The RMT is well aware of the precarious position of the railway’s finances, with no more money to offer more.

“Their action is condemning us all to a long and drawn-out dispute with no obvious end in sight, and is only harming the very industry and people it claims to be here to protect.”

Strikes by members of the RMT and drivers’ union, Aslef have seen train services all but grind to a halt in a series of walkouts since last summer.

Ministers say they are facilitating talks between the two sides, but unions continue to insist the government is blocking deals.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan previously warned strikes could continue for three more years.

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