Train strikes: RMT members to vote on new pay offer as Network Rail strike suspended

Union to hold referendum on new unconditional pay and benefits offer

RMT members were due to walk out on 16 March (Photo: Getty Images)RMT members were due to walk out on 16 March (Photo: Getty Images)
RMT members were due to walk out on 16 March (Photo: Getty Images)

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union has suspended strike action at Network Rail after receiving a new pay offer.

The union said it was halting a planned strike for 16 March while it put the revised offer to a vote of its members. The new deal includes an improved pay and benefits offer, the union said.

It added that the offer was not conditional on accepting Network Rail’s modernisation plans. This plan for changes to working practices was a previous sticking point between the two parties and led the RMT to reject a previous offer in February.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Network Rail have made a new and improved offer and now our members will decide whether to accept it.

“We will continue our campaign for a negotiated settlement on all aspects of the railway dispute.”

The latest decision does not affect four other days of strikes planned by the RMT at a number of train operating companies in England. However, their impact is expected to be far less extensive than if Network Rail were also taking action.

The new offer amounts to an uplift on salaries of between 14.4% for the lowest paid grades to 9.2% for the highest paid, plus an additional 1.1% on basic earnings and increased backpay, which will be paid as a lump sum.

The offer also has a total uplift on basic earnings between 15.2% for the lowest paid grades to 10.3% for the highest paid grades. According to the RMT, 55% of its Network Rail members earn less than £35,000 so will be eligible for the 15.2% increase.

Other benefits of the deal include 75% discounted leisure travel – a long held demand of Network Rail members.

In a statment, the RMT said it was not making a recommendation on how members should vote on the referendum. The vote will run from 9 March until 20 March after which rail users will discover whether months of major disruption could be coming to an end.

Up to 40,000 members of the RMT have been taking part in walkouts for months in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. Their actions have seen up to 80% of services cancelled and half of all Britain’s rail lines shut.

They have been joined in strikes by members of train drivers’ union Aslef and the smaller TSSA union. The TSSA recently accepted a revised pay offer from the train operating companies but Aslef’s general secretary Mick Whelan has warned that there is no end in sight to strikes by his members.