Unite, the UK’s leading union, has warned rail companies including Network Rail to be braced for a delay in the supply of signalling equipment as workers at Unipart Rail strike next week in a dispute over pay.

Real terms pay cut

The workers have rejected a 4.75 per cent pay increase, which is a sizeable real terms pay cut with the true rate of inflation (RPI) currently standing at nine per cent.

The workers will take strike action beginning at 00:01hrs on Tuesday 29 August and continuing until 23:59 on Friday 1 September. An overtime ban will also be in place beginning today (Friday 25 August)and ending on Monday 4 September.

Wealthy company

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a very wealthy multinational company which can afford to pay its workers a fair wage for undertaking highly skilled and safety critical work but is choosing not to in order to boost its profits.”

Unite initially took industrial action in July and had delayed announcing further industrial action in the hope the company would be prepared to make an improved offer, which has sadly failed to materialise. Unite put forward fresh proposals to resolve the dispute and offered eleventh hour talks but this initiative was rebuffed by the company.

Network Rail

Unipart Rail produces and refurbishes signalling equipment for Network Rail and the strike action will cause serious disruption and delays to the company in receiving the materials that it requires to keep the railway network functional.

Unipart Rail, which is part of the larger Unipart group, is highly profitable and continued to profit during the Covid pandemic. Unite’s forensic research into the company’s accounts has discovered that wages have fallen by 28 per cent in real terms in recent years. Despite this, the highest paid director at the company is paid £256,000, seven times the average workers’ salary.

Serious delays

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “Network Rail needs to be aware that there will be serious delays in receiving signalling equipment, but this is directly due to Unipart Rail’s greed and intransigence. The company has had every opportunity to make its workers a fair pay offer but has refused to do so.”


Notes to editors

Network Rail facing signalling delays as Unipart Rail workers in Crewe strike over pay

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications advisor Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235. 

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.