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London, March 21 – The UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said that its 20,000 members had accepted an improved pay offer from Network Rail, putting an end to months of disruptive strikes.
Turnout in the RMT ballot was nearly 90 per cent, with 76 per cent voting to accept the new offer covering pay, jobs and conditions, reports Xinhua news agency.
The vote means “the end of the trade dispute” with Network Rail, the RMT National Executive said. Network Rail owns and maintains the country’s train infrastructure.
The improved offer includes a salary hike of 14.4 per cent for the lowest paid grades and 9.2 per cent for the highest paid as well as the renewal of the no compulsory redundancy agreement until January 2025.
“I’m pleased that RMT members were able to vote on this offer and the overwhelming vote in favour is good news for our people, our passengers and our country,” Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said in a statement on Monday.
The announcement was considered a breakthrough and raised hopes for further settlements.
The UK has been in the grip of widespread rail walkouts since summer of 2022 as consistent high inflation has caused a worsening cost-of-living crisis.
However, planned strikes by RMT members at 14 train operating companies are still expected to go ahead later this month and in April.
Disputes with these companies had yet to be settled, and recent walkouts had shown RMT’s determination to secure a better deal, said Mick Lynch, the union’s general secretary.