The train strikes that have disrupted the rail network since last summer may finally be over, after the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) called off all its upcoming action.

Rail workers had been due to strike on Thursday 30 March and Saturday 1 April in the long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

But this action has been paused following negotiations with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents the 14 rail operators employing the staff.

It comes after Network Rail staff, also represented by the RMT, accepted a pay offer of at least 9 per cent after months of discussions and walkouts in a separate dispute.

Here’s why next week’s strikes have been called off, and what that means for the future.

Why have the train strikes been called off?

The RMT called off strike action scheduled for 30 March and 1 April that had been poised to severely limit the rail network.

The union said it has received a new proposal from the RDG that could lead to a “resolution” of the dispute.

It is understood the offer guarantees competitive pay rises and no compulsory redundancies, with a 9 per cent pay rise offered over two years, plus a larger increase for the lowest paid.

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 [national executive committee] has therefore suspended strike action scheduled for 30 March and 1 April.

“RMT will have further talks with the RDG with a view to securing a new offer on pay, job security and working conditions.”

An RDG 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.”

Network Rail employees voted last week to accept an offer including pay rises ranging from 14.4 per cent for the lowest paid grades to 9.2 per cent for the highest paid, increased backpay, a no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025, and rail travel benefits.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “Strike action and the inspiring solidarity and determination of members has secured new money and a new offer which has been clearly accepted by our members and that dispute is now over.”

Could there be more train strikes?

There are currently no further rail strikes planned by the RMT. However, the suspension of next week’s action does not necessarily mean more will not be called in the future.

“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,” the union said.

Everything now hinges on a settlement being reached by the RMT and RDG and an offer being accepted by workers that would end the dispute – and the strikes – for good.

By admin