RMT votes to accept Network Rail pay offer

1000’s of rail staff together with signalling employees voted by three to 1 in favour to just accept the provide, a 9% pay improve over two years, in a referendum that closed on Monday.

The union stated that on a turnout of almost 90%, its members voted by 76%-24% to just accept the provide, and it was ending its dispute with Community Rail.

The end result ought to spell an finish to essentially the most disruptive strikes, and can elevate hopes that every one pay disputes throughout the railway may quickly be settled, though the RMT stated the ball was “within the authorities’s court docket”.

RMT members at 14 prepare operators are nonetheless poised to strike on two days subsequent week – 30 March and 1 April – and drivers within the Aslef union haven’t but settled their dispute.

Nonetheless, the breakthrough with the RMT at Community Rail – the place the union that has known as most strikes has most leverage – might be welcomed by the business as a significant second in resolving essentially the most widespread strikes in many years.

The RMT common secretary, Mick Lynch, stated that the union had initially been instructed in spring 2022 that staff would solely get a 2% or 3% pay rise. He added: “Nonetheless, since then strike motion and the inspiring solidarity and dedication of members has secured new cash and a brand new provide which has been clearly accepted by our members and that dispute is now over.

“Our dispute with the prepare working firms stays firmly on and our members current extremely efficient strike motion throughout the 14 prepare firms has proven their dedication to safe a greater deal.

“If the federal government now permits the prepare firms to make the proper provide, we are able to then put that to our members, however till then the strike motion scheduled for 30 March and 1 April will happen. The ball is within the authorities’s court docket.”

The Community Rail deal is known to be price as much as 15.2% extra to the bottom paid, with all pay elevated by a minimum of £1,750 and a few further backdated pay agreed within the revised provide, after the deal was initially rejected in a vote earlier than Christmas.

Ministers, nonetheless, have insisted that the present provide from prepare operators is the “finest and closing”. The transport secretary, Mark Harper, stated: “I’m happy Community Rail’s RMT members have voted to just accept a good and cheap 5% plus 4% pay provide, over two years, that the federal government labored laborious to facilitate.

“Whereas that is excellent news, sadly, RMT members who work for prepare working firms will not be being given the identical probability to deliver their dispute to an finish. That’s as a result of the RMT has refused to place the Rail Supply Group’s [RDG] very related provide to a vote, denying these members the pay rise they deserve.

“That’s why I’m as soon as once more urging the RMT to name off their upcoming strikes throughout prepare working firms, put the Rail Supply Group provide to a vote, and provides all of their members a say.”

The Community Rail chief govt, Andrew Haines, stated: “I’m happy that RMT members have been in a position to vote on this provide and the overwhelming vote in favour is sweet information for our folks, our passengers and our nation. My group and I’ll now focus all our efforts on rebuilding our railway.”

The RMT has simply over 20,700 members at Community Rail, together with 18,300 in grades voting within the referendum, out of 42,000 Community Rail employees. About 20,000 prepare operator and station employees are within the RMT and nonetheless in dispute; roughly 3,000 within the smaller TSSA union accepted the RDG pay provide final month.

About 12,000 drivers in Aslef are employed by nationwide rail prepare operators contracted to the Division for Transport and stay in dispute. Drivers have staged fewer strikes however are normally in a position to halt providers fully once they accomplish that. Whereas a closing settlement with Aslef is regarded as a way off, talks are persevering with and no extra strikes are anticipated at this level.

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