RMT members employed by Network Rail have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to accept an improved pay and conditions offer, the union said today.
It added that in a turnout of nearly 90 per cent, its 20,000 Network Rail members had voted by 76 per cent to 24 per cent to accept the offer.
The RMT National Executive has confirmed that the vote means the end of its trade dispute with Network Rail.
The settlement includes an increase of salaries of between 14.4 per cent for the lowest paid grades to 9.2 per cent for the highest paid, plus a further increase of 1.1 per cent for all grades. Backpay will be increased, and a ‘no compulsory redundancies’ agreement has been renewed until January 2025.
Network Rail has withdrawn its requirement that the RMT accepted its ‘modernising maintenance’ proposals, and staff will also benefit from discounted rail travel.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that when the union first declared its dispute with Network Rail a year ago, the union was told that Network Rail workers would only get two to three per cent.
He continued: ‘However, since then 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.’
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.’
However, further strikes have been called at 14 train operating companies for 30 March and 1 April.
Mick Lynch added: ‘Our dispute with the Train Operating Companies remains firmly on and our members’ recent highly effective strike action across the fourteen 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 reacted swiftly: ‘I am pleased Network Rail’s RMT members have voted to accept a fair and reasonable 5 per cent plus 4 per cent pay offer over two years that the government worked hard to facilitate,’ he said.
He continued: ‘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.’