Train strikes: TSSA union accepts National Rail pay deal rejected by RMT

Network Rail offer is ‘significantly better than anything which has been proposed by the train operating companies’ says director

Simon Calder
Thursday 15 December 2022 16:02 GMT
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On track: Network Rail staff belonging to the TSSA union have voted to accept the company’s pay offer
On track: Network Rail staff belonging to the TSSA union have voted to accept the company’s pay offer (Network Rail)

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As rail workers belonging to the RMT union prepare for 10 more days of national strikes, members of the white-collar TSSA union have voted “overwhelmingly” to accept the pay deal offered by Network Rail.

The rail infrastructure provider, an arm’s length body of the Department for Transport, proposed a 5 per cent increase for 2022 and 4 per cent for 2023, with higher figures for those on the lowest salaries. The union says it has also secured “job security and the nailing down of our terms and conditions”.

On a turnout of 70 per cent, 85 per cent voted to accept the proposal – meaning three out of five members were in favour. Earlier, members of the Unite union accepted an identical offer.

The TSSA’s organising director, Luke Chester said: “This is a decisive result with our members roundly endorsing this offer. It’s great news and a great deal for our members in Network Rail. It just shows what can be done through negotiations when there’s a serious offer on the table.

“Let me be clear though – this has only come about because our members stood together taking strike action to get a fair settlement when the company had failed to listen. Their dogged determination and some hard negotiations won this improved offer.

“However, the deal in Network Rail is significantly better than anything which has been proposed by the train operating companies and our fight goes on there with members continuing to take industrial action.

“If the rail companies and the government have any sense, they will now stop blocking the perfectly reasonable pathway to a deal and come back to the table with an improved offer which meets our aspirations.”

The same deal was rejected by members of the larger RMT union earlier this week by a majority of 64:36. Union leaders urged staff to reject the pay offer.

While Thursday is not a strike day, many trains started later than normal and cancellations will begin early evening ahead of the next 48-hour stoppage on Friday and Saturday.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “TSSA and Unite members have both voted to resoundingly accept the very same deal that the RMT continue to reject.

“We know there is a sizeable number of RMT members who want this deal and we can see that strike action is beginning to break down.

“Thousands of colleagues have refused to strike this week, instead coming into work to keep services running and Britain moving. It is time the RMT executive put their members’ interests first and end this dispute.

“Their needless strike action is sabotaging the railway and will cost our employees, their members, dearly.”

But the RMT union claimed strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday “effectively shut down the railway across the country”.

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “I congratulate RMT members who have shown enormous dignity and rock-solid fortitude throughout this 48-hour strike.

“They have shown how important their work is to the functioning of the economy and wider society.

“All they want is a negotiated settlement on job security, a decent pay rise and good working conditions.

“And they are determined to continue their industrial campaign until an agreed resolution is achieved.”

Strikes by members working for Network Rail are planned on 16-17 December, 24-27 December, 3-4 January and 6-7 January.

It is understood that Mr Lynch met the rail minister, Huw Merriman, and employers’ representatives for further talks on Thursday.

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