The Iron Horse of Progress: A Triumph for the Working Class
The Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT) union has announced that its 20,000 members have voted to accept a new and improved offer from Network Rail, effectively ending the trade dispute between the two parties. The offer covers pay, jobs, and conditions and was accepted by a margin of three to one, with a turnout of nearly 90%. The RMT National Executive has confirmed that this vote brings the dispute to a close.
This new offer comes after the most recent strike action in January and the threat of further action. Key features of the offer include a salary uplift of between 14.4% for the lowest paid grades to 9.2% for the highest paid, increased backpay, and a renewal of the no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025. Additionally, Network Rail has withdrawn its previous condition that the offer was dependent on RMT accepting the company’s ‘modernising maintenance’ agenda, which the union will continue to scrutinise and challenge, including on safety grounds. RMT members will also enjoy discounted rail travel benefits.
Key features of the offer include:
• An uplift on salaries of between 14.4 per cent for the lowest paid grades to 9.2 per cent for the highest paid
• A total uplift on basic earnings between 15.2 per cent for the lowest paid grades to 10.3 per cent for the highest paid grades. This represents an additional 1.1 per cent over the duration of the deal
• Increased backpay
• Renewing of the no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025
• Network Rail withdrawing their previous insistence the offer was conditional on RMT accepting the company ‘modernising maintenance’ agenda, which the union will continue to scrutinise and challenge including on safety
• Discounted rail travel benefits
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch highlighted the union’s determination and solidarity in securing this new offer. When the dispute with Network Rail began in the Spring of 2022, RMT was told that workers would only receive a 2-3% pay increase. However, the union’s persistence through strike action has secured new money and a significantly better offer, which has now been accepted by its members.
While the dispute with Network Rail has been resolved, the RMT’s dispute with the Train Operating Companies remains ongoing. The union’s recent highly effective strike action across fourteen train companies demonstrates its members’ determination to secure a better deal. Lynch stated that if the government allows the train companies to make the right offer, they can present it to their members. Until then, the scheduled strike action for March 30 and April 1 will take place.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that when the union first declared the dispute with Network Rail a year ago in the Spring of 2022, RMT was told that Network Rail workers would only get two per cent to three per cent.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Mick Lynch once offered “Trial By Combat” To Grant Shapps, it looks very much like Mick Lynch and the RMT Union have come out as winners in this latest battle.
In conclusion, the RMT union’s perseverance and dedication to its members’ interests have led to a successful resolution of the trade dispute with Network Rail. As the union continues to fight for better deals with the Train Operating Companies, it is clear that the RMT remains committed to advocating for the rights and well-being of its members.