Pay deal signals light at the end of the tunnel for train strikes

20 March 2023 by
Pay deal signals light at the end of the tunnel for train strikes

Maintenance staff and signal workers in the RMT union have voted in favour of an offer from Network Rail to end the prolonged dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions.

The RMT revealed that voter turnout was nearly at 90%, with 76% of members voting to accept the pay offer.

It comes after Network Rail upped a rejected offer of a 5% pay increase for 2022 and a 4% rise for 2023 to a boost in salaries of between 14.4% for the lowest paid and 9.2% for the highest earners.

However, RMT members who work for 14 train operating companies are still expected to stage industrial action on 30 March and 1 April as their pay dispute continues.

Calculations from UKHospitality predicted that the sector will lose £600m as a result of the latest round of strikes taking place this month and early next.

Rail strikes had reportedly cost the industry £3b between summer 2022 and January 2023.

It remains to be seen if the move from maintenance staff and signal workers will impact the train operating companies' attitude towards the dispute.

According to the BBC, Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, said that members at train operating companies would continue to strike until they had the "right offer".

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, commented: "This is encouraging news for hospitality businesses, who may dare to hope that their role as collateral damage in this dispute could be coming to an end.

"There's plenty still to be done, of course, with ongoing negotiations between other employee groups, but I hope that this agreement paves the way for rail and tube strikes to end completely."

She added: "Venues across the country have so far incurred lost sales upwards of £3 billion and would have struggled immensely to deal with that level of ongoing disruption. I would encourage everyone involved to continue their urgent negotiations and bring to an end strikes that have heaped misery on businesses, consumers and workers for almost a year."

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