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Network Rail has sparked anger by refusing to award annual bonuses to staff who went on strike in a long-running dispute.

The decision could affect up to 20,000 members of the RMT union, whose members took industrial action over pay, jobs and working conditions.

The dispute was settled in March when they voted to accept a 9% pay rise.

However, those who took part in strikes from June 2022 onwards will not receive a bonus worth about £300.

A spokesperson for Network Rail, which owns and maintains thousands of miles of railway across Britain, said that it had been “crystal clear” with trade unions and employees about the fact that strike action would affect its performance-related bonus scheme.

“Our position was made very clear – any discretionary payments would focus on those who continued to support rail services during industrial action,” they added.

In the past, bonuses for eligible Network Rail staff have reached about £1,000.

Due to industrial action affecting the company’s performance, the award is expected to stand at about £300 this year.

The move prompted anger from the RMT union, which represents thousands of signal workers and maintenance staff who work for Network Rail.

Its general secretary, Mick Lynch, described the decision as “disgraceful”.

He suggested that Network Rail was penalising members for participating in trade union activities and slammed it as “a transparent attempt to divide the workforce”.

Nearly 13,000 people have signed a petition on online platform Organise calling on Network Rail to give a bonus to all of its workers.

But it has been reported that Network Rail set out the rule in the terms and conditions for its discretionary bonus scheme.

It risks souring relations between unions and the public sector company after they reached a deal over pay in March.

The turnout for the vote was nearly 90%, the RMT said at the time, with 76% of members voting in favour of the pay offer.

The package saw this year’s pay increase backdated by three months so workers got a bigger lump sum upfront and included heavily discounted leisure travel.

Passengers are also still being affected by strikes as RMT members working for train operating companies and the train drivers at the Aslef union push for better pay deals.

Some 20,000 RMT members are expected to strike on Saturday, 2 September.

Aslef has announced its members will strike on Friday, 1 September and refuse to work overtime on Saturday, 2 September.

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