Unions suspend action following revised offer from Network Rail
The RMT and TSSA unions have called off strike action which was planned to take place on 25 & 26 May.
Members of both unions who work for Network Rail voted to strike following a dispute over the company’s pay offer of a £500 bonus in the current year and retail price inflation increases for the next three years. Concern was also expressed by the RMT at the fact that a no compulsory redundancy commitment would only extend until 2016, rather than over the four years of the deal. This led the unions to call for a walkout by Network Rail staff for 24 hours from 17.00 on Monday 25 May.
Talks have been ongoing at conciliation service Acas all week, with both unions agreeing to cancel the industrial action following a revised offer from Network Rail. The TSSA represents around 3,000 Network Rail staff while around 16,000 are RMT members.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash told the union’s members: ‘After four days of talks at conciliation service Acas between your union and Network Rail management, the company has tabled a revised offer. Your Executive Committee has considered this offer and decided to suspend all industrial action which had been scheduled to take place on Monday 25 May and Tuesday 26 May 2015.’ It is understood that the RMT has not ruled out further action but is taking time to consider the revised offer.
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the TSSA rail union said: ‘Our negotiating team at Acas has received a revised offer from Network Rail. As a result of this, they have suspended the planned industrial action, pending the outcome of a meeting of our workplace representatives next week.’
Had the strike gone ahead, it would have been the biggest to hit the rail network in 20 years, causing widespread disruption. Contingency plans from operators would have seen most services finishing early on Bank Holiday Monday 25 May and many withdrawn completely the following day. Network Rail has also confirmed that its planned works programme for the bank holiday weekend can now go ahead as scheduled.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented: ‘I am very pleased that the unions have made a decision to suspend their planned action. Passengers right across the country will welcome this news and the knowledge that the extensive disruption threatening the bank holiday and the return to work on Tuesday has been averted. The government has been working closely with transport operators, Highways England and local government on preparations to help manage the impact a national rail strike would have had on the network. We all welcome this news.’