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Rail union votes to end industrial dispute – but commuters still face disruption

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Mick Lynch
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch says that the pay deal shows ‘sustained strike action and unity gets results’ - Lucy North/PA

RMT members have voted overwhelmingly to accept a pay deal that will end their long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

The deal will see rail union workers receive a backdated pay rise of 5pc that means members are in line for a lump sum of at least £1,750 before Christmas.

Alongside an unconditional pay offer, train companies have agreed to no compulsory redundancies until the end of 2024.

The RMT has 20,000 members across various train operators, including ticket office staff and train guards.

The union has been locked in a dispute with train operators and the Government for almost 18 months and has carried out more than 20 days of industrial action since its first national strike in June 2022.

The acceptance of the pay deal brings an end to RMT strike action until at least April next year.

Rishi Sunak said it was “incredibly welcome news for passengers”, while Transport Secretary Mark Harper called it “a significant step towards resolving industrial disputes on the railway, giving workers a pay rise before Christmas and a pathway to delivering long overdue reforms”.

Despite the deal, families will still face rail disruption this weekend, as Aslef, the train drivers’ union, stages strike action.

rail strikes
Passengers were affected as the RMT staged more than 20 days of industrial action across almost 18 months - James Manning/PA

A Rail Delivery Group spokesman said: “Unfortunately, the Aslef leadership’s decision to call further industrial action means passengers still face disruption between December 1 and 9, despite an offer remaining on the table which would see basic driver salaries increase from £60,000 to £65,000 for a four-day week.

“We want to reach a fair agreement which will get more trains running on time and put the railway on a sustainable footing, at a time when taxpayers are contributing an extra £54m a week to keep services running post-Covid.

“Instead of staging more damaging industrial action, we call on Aslef to work with us to resolve this dispute for the long-term good of everyone who works in rail and the millions of businesses and passengers who rely on it every day.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “It is disappointing that Aslef continue down this path. We very much believe Aslef should follow the RMT’s lead and give their members a say.”

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said the deal with the RMT meant “fair agreements have now been reached with three out of the four unions involved in the recent industrial dispute”.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “This campaign shows that sustained strike action and unity gets results and our members should be proud of the role they have played in securing this deal.”

Mr Lynch added: “Our members have spoken in huge numbers to accept this offer and I want to congratulate them on their steadfastness in this long industrial campaign.

“We will be negotiating further with the train operators over reforms they want to see. And we will never shy away from vigorously defending our members’ terms and conditions, now or in the future.”