The UK is set for serious disruption of railway signalling parts, Unite, the UK’s leading union, has warned, as workers at Unipart Rail Ltd have announced strike action in a pay dispute following a derisory pay offer.

Pay offer rejected

The workers, who are based at Unipart Rail’s Crewe depot, have rejected a 4.75 per cent pay increase, which is in reality a pay cut, with the true inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 11.3 per cent.

The workers have announced two initial 24 hour strikes on Wednesday 5 July and Wednesday 12 July. An overtime ban will also be in place from 3 July until 16 July.

Highly paid directors

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unipart Rail is a profitable company that is prepared to pay its directors very generously. The same does not apply to the workers who make the company a success, who have been offered a derisory offer. Unipart needs to urgently return to the negotiating table, drop its derisory offer and make a dramatically improved offer.”

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.

Unipart Rail, which is part of the larger Unipart group, is highly profitable and continued to achieve a 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.

Disruption expected

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “Strike action will cause considerable disruption to the dispatch of key signalling equipment, vital to Network Rail’s operations. But this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making. It has had every opportunity to make a fair pay offer but has stubbornly refused to do so.”


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

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.