New rail strike planned for later this month amid row over ‘paltry’ pay offer

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Workers at rail operators and Network Rail will strike for 24 hours on 27 July in a dispute over pay, the RMT union has announced.

The news comes after the union rejected a pay offer from Network Rail, which it described as “paltry”, and after three rail strikes last month which crippled services across the country.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The offer from Network Rail represents a real terms pay cut for our members and the paltry sum is conditional on RMT members agreeing to drastic changes in their working lives.

“We have made progress on compulsory redundancies, but Network Rail are still seeking to make our members poorer when we have won in some cases double what they are offering, with other rail operators.

“The train operating companies remain stubborn and are refusing to make any new offer which deals with job security and pay.

“Strike action is the only course open to us to make both the rail industry and government understand that this dispute will continue for as long as it takes, until we get a negotiated settlement.”

Mr Lynch said that Network Rail members will strike from 2am on 27 July for 24 hours, and members of the train operating companies will take action from just after midnight until 23.59pm on the same day.

The 27 July is the day before the Commonwealth Games begin in Birmingham.

Other unions to be consulted with possible coordinated action

The offer from Network Rail had included a 4% pay rise backdated to January, another 2% next year and a further 2% conditional on achieving “modernisation milestones”.

Sky News understands that more was on offer for those paid under £30,000, along with all members being offered discounted travel for them and their families, and bonuses.

Read more:
More disruption on railways as drivers at eight train companies back walkouts
Network Rail makes new pay offer to workers after strikes but RMT union calls it a ‘real-terms pay cut’

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But the RMT said it was yet to receive a pay offer or guarantees over job losses from the train operating companies, adding that it will consult other unions that have voted for strike action, with the possibility of coordinated walk-outs.

Also on Wednesday, nearly 700 workers at rail operators GWR, Greater Anglia and TransPennine Express backed strike over pay, conditions and job security, according to the TSSA.

Drivers’ union Aslef has also voted for industrial action in recent days.

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “This latest round of action will cause more misery for millions and take money out of the industry at a time when passenger numbers remain 20% below pre-pandemic levels, making it harder to afford a pay increase.

“We want to give our people a pay raise, but to do that we have bring working practices that are in some cases decades-old up to date so that we can adapt to new, more leisure-led travel patterns – including making Sunday part of the standard working week so that services are more reliable at weekends.

“The alternative is asking taxpayers to shoulder the burden after contributing over £600 per household to keep the railway running during the pandemic, or asking passengers to pay even higher fares when they too are feeling the pinch – and that simply isn’t fair.

“Instead of staging more counterproductive strikes, we ask the RMT to come back to the table so we can deliver a deal that works for our people, our passengers and for taxpayers.”

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