Striking UK rail workers accept pay deal

AFP , Monday 20 Mar 2023

Union members working for the company that owns Britain's rail infrastructure have voted unanimously to accept a pay deal to end long-running strike action, the union said on Monday.

RMT workers
RMT workers behind a Defend rail jobs, pay, conditions banner at a strike picket outside Euston station in London. Photograph: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock


The government called the deal, which was backed by just over three-quarters (76 percent) of RMT members, "good news" after repeated walkouts have caused travel misery for millions since last year.

Staff including signal workers and maintenance staff will receive a 5.0 percent plus 4.0 percent increase over two years, the Department for Transport said.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said it was the equivalent of a 14.4-percent increase for the lowest-paid workers and 9.2 percent for the highest.

It also increased backpay, includes a no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025 and rail travel benefits.

But Transport Secretary Mark Harper urged the union to now put a "very similar" offer to its other members working for 14 train operating companies.

Rail workers were among the first in the public and private sectors to walk out last year over below-inflation pay increases as the cost of living soared, as well as working conditions.

Two more days of strike action by RMT members working for train operators are still due to take place next week.

"The ball is in the government's court" to offer a new deal, Lynch said.

Last week, unions representing workers in the state-run National Health Service agreed a 5.0-percent pay increase after talks with the government.

Members, including nurses, paramedics, emergency call handlers, midwives and others, are due to vote on the package and have paused planned strikes until then.

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