RMT to stage more strikes in ‘sustained and targeted’ campaign

Members of the RMT are set to walk out again on three days in March, and also on 1 April.

The union represents a total of 40,000 workers in Network Rail and train operators. It rejected offers from the employers last week, saying ‘they did not meet the needs of members on pay, job security or working conditions’.

A 24-hour strike involving most English operators and Network Rail has been called for 16 March, with further walkouts by the staff at operators set to follow on 18 and 30 March, and again on 1 April.

There will also be overtime bans at Network Rail, which will include no rest day working and no non-rostered Sunday shifts.

Maintenance staff will take action a week at a time, from 17 to 23 March, again from 31 March to 6 April and for a third week between 14 and 20 April. Operations staff will ban overtime from 26 March to 1 April, from 9 to 15 April and from 23 to 29 April.

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.’

Transport secretary Mark Harper responded: ‘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.’

The Rail Delivery Group said: ‘This latest round of strikes is totally unjustified and will be an inconvenience to our customers, and cost our people more money at a time they can least afford it.’ The RDG is also accusing the union of ‘reneging’ on an earlier agreement that the industry needs reforms to fund pay increases.

Network Rail was also critical. Its chief negotiator Tim Shoveller said: ‘Thousands of employees are telling us they want the improved offer that we have tabled, an offer worth at least 9 per cent over two years, rising to over 14 per cent for the lowest paid, provides job security with no compulsory redundancies and 75 per cent discounted rail travel.

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

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