The planned strikes were over pay and redundancies
The planned strikes were over pay and redundancies

Rail strike: Two walk-outs by Network Rail staff called off following talks

Members of RMT were due to walk out on Thursday and again on 9 June

Lizzie Dearden
Monday 01 June 2015 22:33
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Two strikes on British railways planned over the coming week have been called off following talks between unions and employers.

A planned 24-hour walk-out by Network Rail workers from 5pm on Thursday and a 48-hour strike next week were both cancelled after four days of bargaining over a new pay deal.

Two proposals had been rejected be the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) and other unions, and commuters across the country were preparing for days of disruption.

The strikes would have caused chaos for commuters

A spokesperson for the conciliation service Acas said: “After four days of intensive talks, Acas has helped Network Rail, RMT, TSSA and Unite formulate a set of revised proposals that the trades unions will now take away to consider.

“Recognising this, the RMT has agreed to suspend the industrial action planned for this week and next.”

Strikes had been planned for 24 hours from 5pm on Thursday and for 48 hours starting on 9 June at 5pm.

Mick Cash's RMT union could still call another strike on the issue

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said the "revised offer" meant the industrial action was suspended while details of the pay package were ironed out with Network Rail.

Mark Carne, chief executive of the agency responsible for the UK's railway infrastructure, said: “I am very pleased that the industrial action has been suspended.

"With Acas's help, we have had very constructive talks with the unions over the weekend and I hope they will be able to agree this deal.”

Network Rail employees including signal workers and maintenance staff will be offered a 2 per cent pay increase backdated to the start of this year for 2015 and a further increase equal to RPI is promised for 2016.

A freeze will be put on some compulsory redundancies until the end of next year and RMT said a wider "job security package" would be agreed over the next six months.

Despite the deal, further strikes could be called on the issue because of a 28 day extension made to RMT's ballot mandate, meaning action can be declared until 6 July.

Additional reporting by PA

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