The RMT union announced on Tuesday (March 7) it is suspending all strike action against Network Rail in response to the employer’s new pay offer. This means union workers at the company will not go on strike as planned on March 16.
However, planned RMT strikes across 14 train operators on the same day, as well as March 18 and 30, and April 1, look set to go ahead as it involves different train operators. In a brief statement, the union said more information on the dispute will be made public in a few days’ time.
The statement said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has taken the decision to suspend all industrial action on Network Rail following receipt of a new offer from the employer. Further updates will be given on all aspects of the national rail dispute in the coming days.”
Train workers across the country have been embroiled in a long-running pay dispute that has resulted in months of transport strikes, causing havoc for millions of passengers in London and the rest of the UK. However, a vote of members is still required before the settlement can be approved.
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines told the BBC: “We are relieved for our people, passengers and freight customers that industrial action in Network Rail has now been suspended. We look forward to further information on plans for a referendum.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper, on Monday (March 6) asked the union to let members consider the ‘good pay offer’ on the table. He said: “I was very pleased that the members of the TSSA, one of the rail unions, accepted the offers from both the train operating companies and Network Rail.
“That’s good to see, they are fair and reasonable offers that have been delivered. They’re the best and final offers. I would urge the RMT to put offers that they’ve had to their members and let their members make the decision, and I think they’re good offers.”
According to a report by Evening Standard, a planned Tube strike on March 15 is still set to proceed as the union is involved in a separate dispute with transport for London. This comes after rail operators issued fresh ultimatum to union leader Mick Lynch earlier in the week.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train companies in the ongoing negotiations over pay and conditions, informed the RMT that national level discussions may not resume until its "best and final" offer is presented to union members.