Managers employed by Network Rail have voted to accept a 4% pay offer in a move seized on by the government as a breakthrough in the wider rail strikes dispute.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) confirmed its management-grade members had accepted the deal, which should ensure a skeleton service will continue to run during planned strikes in August.
The decision was announced the day after 2,500 other TSSA members at Network Rail confirmed they would take action alongside 40,000 Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) members, including signallers and train operating staff, on Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 August.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said it was “fantastic news”, adding: “This acceptance by these TSSA members will mean that we have a strong, reliable contingency staff for any future strikes and will be able to run services for passengers and minimise disruption to lives of everyday people.
“Unions working with industry instead of against is the only way forward out of this dispute and a necessary step to end these destructive strikes and to put our railways on a secure footing for the future.”
The TSSA’s organising director, Luke Chester, said the deal “fell short of our aspirations on basic pay” but addressed longstanding concerns and won concessions. The deal includes discounted travel for staff and their families.
He added: “It’s a shame that managers had to vote for industrial action before we could make progress. We remain committed to further dialogue with Network Rail to build on these gains and deliver a fair deal for our members.”
Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s lead negotiator, said: “We are pleased that the TSSA’s management-grade colleagues have voted to accept the pay deal we offered, which includes a 4% increase on base pay from 1 July and heavily discounted leisure travel for employees and their immediate families.
“We believe this is a deal that is both fair for our employees and affordable for passengers and taxpayers.”
TSSA members in general grades and controllers will press ahead with strikes, with electric control room operatives in the Unite union also joining wider RMT action next month. A similar service to previous strikes this year is now expected, with about 20% of trains running between 7am and 7pm.