Striking RMT union workers with Network Rail vote to accept pay deal

The agreement brings a long-running, bitter pay dispute to an end, following months of rail strikes. ITV News' Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports.

Members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union (RMT) in Network Rail have voted to accept a pay offer, the union announced.

The agreement brings a long-running, bitter pay dispute to an end, following months of rail strikes.

The union made the announcement after accepting a deal that includes total uplift on basic earnings between 15.2% for the lowest paid grades, to 10.3% for the highest.

The RMT National Executive announced on Monday that the vote means the end of its trade dispute with Network Rail - but warned that train operators must now come to the table to put an end to more planned strikes.

The RMT and train drivers’ union Aslef have been engaged in nationwide strikes since June last year.

Last week, the union had said the new proposal on the table "involves extra money," and was not conditional on accepting Network Rail’s maintenance reforms.

On Monday, the union confirmed its 20,000 Network Rail members had overwhelmingly voted to accept the "improved" offer covering pay, jobs and conditions by a margin of three to one.Network Rail had been at loggerheads with the union over its insistence that pay rises can only be funded through modernising how it carries out rail maintenance.

Passengers at King's Cross station in London following a strike by members of the RMT. Credit: PA

But in a turnout of nearly 90%, RMT union members members voted by 76% to 24% to accept the fresh offer. 

Workers at Network Rail are due to strike again at 14 train operators on March 18 and 30 and April 1.

What is in the deal?RMT has outlined the key features of the "improved" deal, which will bring pay rises of more than 15% for some rail staff.

The union said the deal includes an uplift on salaries of between 14.4% for the lowest paid grades to 9.2% for the highest paid, increased backpay, a no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025, and rail travel benefits.

The deal includes total uplift on basic earnings between 15.2 % for the lowest paid grades to 10.3% for the highest paid grades.

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.

“Our dispute with the train operating companies remains firmly on and our members’ recent highly effective strike action across the 14 train companies has shown their determination to secure a better deal.

“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.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “I am pleased Network Rail’s RMT members have voted to accept a fair and reasonable 5% plus 4% pay offer, over two years, that the government worked hard to facilitate.

“While this is good news, unfortunately, 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.

“That’s why I am once again urging the RMT to call off their upcoming strikes across train operating companies, put the Rail Delivery Group offer to a vote, and give all of their members a say.”

Network Rail 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.

“I’m grateful for everyone who worked so hard at Network Rail and in the RMT to find a way through this dispute.

“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.”

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