Rail strikes in Birmingham: RMT suspends industrial action after talks with train bosses

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RMT suspends strikes in Birmingham and across the country after securing intensive negotiations with rail bosses

Rail strikes have been called off in Birmingham and across the UK, a rail union has announced.

The RMT said it would now enter into a period of talks with network rail and the trade operating companies. As a result the union has suspended a series of strikes planned beginning tomorrow (Saturday 5 November).

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In Birmingham it had been feared that the strikes would prevent people from enjoying the first weekend of the German Christmas market in the city centre.

The RMT has suspended planned strikes on Nov 5, 7 and 9 and will now enter into a period of intensive negotiations with Network Rail and the train operating companies.

Thousands of its members had been due to take part in three days of 24-hour industrial action on national rail on Saturday 5 November. However, Network Rail said “the very late notice means that service for tomorrow cannot be reinstated and will remain extremely limited”.

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Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT union said: “The threat of strike action and our strongly supported industrial campaign has made the rail employers see sense.

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“We have always wanted to secure a negotiated settlement and that is what we will continue to push for in this next phase of intensive talks.

“Our priority is our members, and we are working towards securing a deal on job security, a decent pay rise and good working conditions.” He added that RMT plans remain “very much live” and a re-ballot for further strikes will conclude on 15 November.

The rail union’s members are striking over working conditions and refused a pay rise offer of 8% over two years, saying it did not match inflation.

The union wanted a commitment that there wouldn’t be any compulsory redundancies in the changes. Network Rail said these were essential to ensure that the service could be made more financially viable.

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Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s chief negotiator, said: “It’s welcome news that the RMT has called off its strikes but the very late notice means that services for tomorrow cannot be reinstated and will remain extremely limited, and while we, and our train company partners, will work without pause over the weekend, there will be limited ability to change the ‘strike timetable’ for Monday.”

There is a new secretary of state, Mark Harper, who will take up the ongoing talks with all parties involved.

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