More rail strikes planned for Greater Manchester despite Network Rail and RMT pay deal  

Strike action on Greater Manchester railways is set to continue next week despite the RMT union and Network Rail (NR) reaching a pay deal earlier this week. 

The deal, which was voted for by NR members on March 20, only covered maintenance and signalling staff employed by NR, leaving workers employed by train operating companies (TOCs) still in dispute.  

RMT members employed by TOCs have so far been offered a below inflation five percent pay rise for last year and a four percent pay rise this year, lower than the up to 14.4 percent rise agreed by Network Rail earlier this week.

Conor Price, a railway worker and chair of RMT Manchester South branch, said: “We’re not going anywhere until we get a good deal. We’re going to keep pushing. They’ll still be lots of disruption next week. 

“We’re not being offered anything like Network Rail at the moment. Probably I’d describe what we’ve been offered as a negative pay rise.” 

Mr Price states that protecting people’s jobs has been the primary concern throughout the strikes.  

“Number two would be the terms and conditions and pay would probably be the third point,” the RMT member said.  

He continued: “All of these things are very important, but the most important thing is people’s jobs.” 

Strike action is not an easy option for Mr Price and others like him, he says it is always the last resort.  

The RMT Manchester South branch chair said: “It makes a financial hit, both myself and my partner work on the railway, so we get hit twice when we go out on strike, but you have to look at the alternative.” 

He remains confident that a deal can be done, taking inspiration from pay deals recently reached in the devolved nations. 

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, handling negotiations with RMT on behalf of TOCs, said: “Train operating staff will rightly be asking why their union continues to deny them the same opportunity as their Network Rail colleagues. 

“We urge the RMT leadership to build on this positive momentum, come back to the negotiating table and agree a deal which will bring an end to this dispute and give Britain’s railway and its staff a secure long-term future.” 

RMT members from 14 separate train companies are set to walk out on March 30 and April 1, as reported by BBC on March 22.

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