Talks continue in rail dispute: Passengers image

Tuesday 7 Jun 2022

Talks continue in rail dispute

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Responding to news of strike dates being announced by the RMT, Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive, said:


“We continue to meet with our trades unions to discuss their pay concerns and we’re doing everything we can to avoid strike action on the railway. We know that the cost of living has increased and we want to give our people a pay rise, but the RMT must recognise we are a public body and any pay increase has to be affordable for taxpayers and passengers.

“Travel habits have changed forever and the railway must change as well. We cannot expect to take more than our fair share of public funds, and so we must modernise our industry to put it on a sound financial footing for the future. Failure to modernise will only lead to industry decline and more job losses in the long run.

“There are a few weeks until the first strike is planned. We will use this time to keep talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that strike action would cause all involved.”

Notes to Editors

Cost and impact of industrial action

  • If it goes ahead, strike action would cost Network Rail around £30m each day, undermining our ability to afford pay increases.


  • The rail industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Passenger numbers have recovered somewhat, but are still only at 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Demand and travel habits have changed – particularly in the commuter market – and so we have to change too.
  • The Government has subsidised the rail industry to the tune of £16bn since the start of the pandemic to keep services running without furloughing a single worker. This is an average of almost £600 per household, and is clearly not sustainable, especially when other vital services like the NHS need public support. The railway should not take more than its fair share of public funds.
  • It is therefore vital that we work with train operators and our trades unions to save millions of pounds and deliver a more efficient railway.


  • Britain’s railway is the safest major network in Europe and we would never consider any changes that would make the railway or our people less safe. Any changes we propose would first need to be scrutinised and approved by the ORR.
  • We have not tabled any formal proposals yet. We are discussing ideas and would welcome constructive dialogue with our unions as we develop formal plans.

Contact information

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03457 11 41 41

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Network Rail press office - Kevin Groves
Head of Media
Network Rail
033 0854 3830 / 07887 896879

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