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Rail unions accept Network Rail pay offer

The threat of a national rail strike is finally dead after members of three major rail unions voted to accept the Network Rail pay offer.

The RMT, TSSA and Unite all balloted their members over the most recent offer with a recommendation to accept.

It follows protracted negotiations at Acas that featured several threatened crippling rail strikes that were all averted at the eleventh hour by last-ditch pay offers.

The final offer has now been accepted. It includes a 2% increase in pay this year, backdated to 1 January 2015, with pay increasing in line with RPI inflation in 2016. Network Rail has also agreed there will be no compulsory redundancies until 2017 and that it will consult with unions on a job security package.

It improves on the previous offer which was made to avert the strike planned for 25 May, which included a 1% rise for 2015 and a 1.4% increase in 2016. Network Rail also offered the unions an extra 0.7% from 2016 if they could come to an agreement with the unions on ‘Smarter Better Working’.

Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said: "This has clearly been a difficult period of uncertainty for our employees and for the people and businesses that depend on us. I am therefore pleased that we’ve come to an agreement.

“What has been clear to me throughout these negotiations is the passion we all share for the railway. I'm confident we will all now move forward together, translating that passion into improvements that will drive up our performance and deliver a better service for our customers.”

Members of the RMT voted 80% to accept the revised offer. Union general secretary Mick Cash said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Network Rail members for their determination, solidarity and support for their union over the last months.

"Without it this deal would simply not have been possible. It just goes to show what can be achieved when members stand united and are prepared to fight for decent pay and conditions. " 

(Picture by: Jonathan Brady)

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