Signal workers accept deal

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THE four-month rail dispute ended last night after signal workers voted by six to one to accept a productivity deal, writes Barrie Clement.

The package accepted by 4,600 signal staff will also apply to more than 1,000 managers and supervisors, who voted against joining the campaign of 24- and 48-hour strikes.

In a rare telephone ballot over the past two days 71 per cent of the strikers voted, with 2,461 accepting the deal and 406 against. The union argues that the agreement is worth 8 per cent on average earnings, but management puts it at nearer 6 per cent.

Announcing the poll result yesterday, Vernon Hince, chief negotiator for the RMT transport union, refused to be drawn on whether the package breaks the Government's pay policy. He said the settlement, which includes a new grading structure and working practices, constituted a 'big step forward'.

A spokeswoman for Railtrack said the company welcomed the ballot result.

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