The RMT union has called off all its upcoming train strikes, in the clearest sign yet that the months-long dispute could be heading towards an end.
The union’s members at Network Rail – a group that includes signal workers and maintenance staff – have already voted to accept a pay offer representing a nine per cent pay rise, but wrangling has dragged on for thousands of workers across 14 train operating companies.
It had vowed to continue with a strike planned for later this month – but the union said it has now paused its upcoming action following negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group.
Which strike dates have been cancelled?
The union has called off strike action scheduled for 30 March and 1 April which had been poised to severely limit the rail network.
The union said it has received a new proposal from the Rail Delivery Group, representing the train operating companies, that could lead to a “resolution” of the dispute.
A statement from the RMT said: “Following further talks between RMT and the Rail Delivery Group today, a proposal was tabled by the RDG which could lead to a resolution to resolve the current national rail dispute through a new offer.
“The NEC has therefore suspended strike action scheduled for March 30 and April 1.
“RMT will have further talks with the RDG with a view to securing a new offer on pay, job security and working conditions.”
Will there be more rail strikes?
No further rail strikes have been scheduled by RMT so far.
However, the union stressed: “The dispute remains on and the union will continue to make preparations for a re-ballot when the current mandates runs out in mid-May.”
Transport officials and the Rail Delivery Group both expressed hopes that a settlement could see the end to strikes.
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “We welcome this positive step by the leadership of the RMT to call off their planned action on 30 March and 1 April. This is great news for our customers and for our staff.
“We are now jointly focused on working constructively towards a settlement to this dispute, which will mean we can do what we have always wanted to do – give our people a pay rise and help secure the long-term future of the railway with rewarding careers for all those who work on it.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “This marks a positive step and takes us closer to resolving this dispute.
“After Network Rail employees overwhelmingly voted to accept a similar pay offer earlier this week, we’re once again asking the RMT executive to do the right thing and put this fair and reasonable offer to its members, giving them the pay rise they deserve and helping us end this dispute.”
It is understood the offer made to RMT guarantees competitive pay rises and no compulsory redundancies, with a nine per cent pay rise offered over two years plus a larger increase for the lower-paid.
A separate dispute relating to the London Underground remains live, though no upcoming strike dates have been announced.