UPDATE: RMT call off rail strike for a second time

web standing-images. Rail. (Hastings, but can be generic)

web standing-images. Rail. (Hastings, but can be generic)

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The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has called off planned industrial action for a second time after reaching an agreement with Network Rail.

A 24-hour strike was planned for later this week with a further 48-hour strike to follow next week.

But following four days of talks the two sides have agreed a new deal over pay.

RMT announced this morning, Monday June 1, it had agreed to a two per cent increase in rates of pay consolidated into basic rates and backdated to January 1 2015 and for 2016 a consolidated increase equal to November 2015 RPI with effect from January 1, 2016.

There will also be no compulsory redundancies for those members covered by this pay claim until December 31 2016.

Earlier story:

Rail workers in the RMT union are to hold 24-hour and 48-hour strikes next month, after rejecting Network Rail’s pay offer today Thursday, May 28.

The largest rail union, RMT, confirmed this afternoon that members will be taking 24 hours of strike action from 5pm on Thursday June 4 through to 4.59pm on Friday June 5 in the current dispute over pay and jobs at Network Rail.

A further 48 hours of action will take place from 5pm on Tuesday June 9 to 4.59pm on Thursday June 11.

In addition there will be action short of a strike from midnight on Saturday June 6 to 11.59pm on Friday June 12, meaning members will not work overtime.

NR members voted in a ballot by 80% for strike action on a 60% turn out and by 92% for action short of strike action.

RMT has rejected the latest Network Rail pay proposals as falling well short of what is required to maintain the living standards and the working conditions for nearly 16,000 staff across NR operations and maintenance.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “Our representatives have today rejected the pay package offered by Network Rail and in the absence of any further movement from the company that has left us with no option but to move to a rolling programme of industrial action which will begin next Thursday.

“We have a massive mandate for action which shows the anger of safety-critical staff across the rail network at attacks on their standards of living and the blunt truth is that this dispute could be settled for a fraction of the money being handed out in senior manager bonuses and to the train operators for not running services. That is a ludicrous situation which should never have been allowed to have arisen.

“With no shortage of cash in the bonus pot and to compensate the private train companies it is no wonder that our members take the view that 1% is wholly inadequate and fails to recognise the massive pressures staff are working under to keep services running safely at a time when the company is generating profits of £1 billion. It is our members battling to keep Britain moving around the clock, often in appalling conditions, and they deserve a fair share from Network Rail for their incredible efforts.

“Our rail staff deserve a fair reward for the high-pressure, safety-critical work that they undertake day and night and the last thing that we need is a demoralised, burnt-out workforce living in fear for their livelihoods and their futures and the message has come back loud and clear that that is exactly how they feel about the current offer from Network Rail.

“RMT remains available for talks and we hope that the company will appreciate the anger amongst staff at the current offer on pay and conditions from Network Rail and that they will agree to our call to come back to the table with an improved package. We expect rock solid support for this action and will be taking a new campaign to the public under the banner “OUR JOBS - YOUR SAFETY” as we build support for the fight to stop this attack on a workforce ‎whose core role is to deliver a safe railway to the British people.”

A statement from the union said: “RMT is in no doubt that a decent pay settlement for NR staff is entirely affordable.

“The union has pointed out that:

• Network Rail can clearly afford to make a pay offer that maintains the standards of living of its workforce

• The company generated £1 billion of profits in the most recent financial year due to the effort and commitment of its staff

• Network Rail has is paying out £60 million in bonuses with top managers able to hit a bonus level up to 50% of their actual income.

• It has been estimated that each one day of strike action will result in compensation payments of £30 million to the private train companies

• Each additional 1% on the pay offer means an additional £7.5 million in real costs to the company – meaning that the dispute could be settled for a fraction of the nearly £100 million soaked up in bonuses and compensation.

• The union has been negotiating on the current pay round since last October – with the award being delayed from the anniversary date of the 1st January the current offer of 1% for 2105 is paltry in comparison to the real rate of inflation of 2.1% when negotiations opened towards the end of last year.”