Latest Rail News

25.03.15

Britain moves towards national rail strike as union members reject pay offer

Britain is a step closer to its first national rail strike in a generation as RMT members have “overwhelmingly” rejected the final pay offer from Network Rail.

The union has announced that its Network Rail members in Operations, Maintenance, Customer Services and associated grades have rejected the offer by a massive 93% on a 56% turnout. 

Responding to the news, Network Rail has indicated it would be willing to continue talks.

Phil Hufton, managing director, network operations, said: “Nobody wants a strike or any other form of industrial action, there is nothing to be gained. The impact on the railway, on our 4.5 million daily passengers and to thousands of projects aimed at improving the railway, would be significant and our staff would be hit in their pockets.

"We have great people doing a challenging job. People who are dedicated to making the railway better and who take pride in providing a decent service to millions every day.

“The RMT have indicated their willingness to get back around the table and we’re more than happy to take up that offer and see how we can work through our current disagreement and find a solution that makes sense for our people, the company and the railway as a whole.”

RMT balloted 17,000 members in all areas of Network Rail in the referendum. Now the offer has been rejected union leaders have made it clear they are in dispute with Network Rail and are planning a further ballot on industrial action. 

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members have decisively rejected the pay package offered by Network Rail and as we said right from the start that puts us into dispute and triggers preparations for a national industrial action ballot.

“As far as we are concerned 0% in 2015 is a pay cut as it means that our members pay will not keep up with the cost of living. The travel offer we have received is nothing more than a card that can be purchased by any member of the travelling public, falling well short of our demand of free travel for all. In addition, we are extremely concerned that the ‘No Compulsory Redundancy’ commitment only applies to the first year of the four-year deal.”

He added: “RMT remains available for talks and we hope that the company will appreciate the anger amongst staff at the current offer on pay and conditions from Network Rail and that they will agree to our call to come back to the table with an improved package.

The pay package proposals which union members rejected included: 

  • A 0% increase in pay for 2015.
  • An RPI level of inflation increase in pay applied for 2016, 2017 and 2018.  
  • The ‘No Compulsory Redundancy’ commitment to be extended until 31 December 2015. 
  • Network Rail to provide an annual National Rail Card giving a 33% reduction in off peak travel for employees, their friends and family. 

(Image source: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

 Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Lutz   25/03/2015 at 21:18

Please just bankrupt the union and the trouble-makers.

Joel   27/03/2015 at 11:48

The ballot was an absolute majority - more than any government has ever had, and meets Mayor Johnson's bluster for representative consultation. This is democracy - and while I never voted for the present governmental parties, nor did many others, they 'won' so we work with that. A zero % pay award does not pay bills - rents and mortgages are rising, so are transport fares. Key food prices are rising too - as are items not in the Indexation baskets. No-one should have a standstill on pay. A reasonable outcome is better than a disputed one.

Ian Mcdonald   27/03/2015 at 15:10

The Government also thinks it can get away with convincing us that inflation will stay at 0%, even though this is almost certainly a temporary blip with current very low oil prices, intense supermarket competition, retail activity down generally as workers struggle to pay rent and mortgages on declining income. Even a modest 1% offer could probablyat least stave off action by RMT members; businesses and the economy generally, and of course suffering passengers will not thank Network Rail for digging in over this absurd offer.

Adam   12/05/2015 at 13:46

Network rail unions need a reality check. 1) No private sectory workers will get RPI as a measure of inflation over the next 3 years. They will get CPI instead. This will always be lower than RPI so already these workers are better off. 2) No other workers get 'free stuff' off their employers like the unions demand above. They get discounts. A card to get the whole family a 1/3 off rail costs shouldn't be sneered at as it is being here. 3) I'd agree that a 0% pay rise in 2015 is difficult. But inflation is only at 0.5% at best so taking the £500 one off more than makes up for this! It's demands like this which are going help the conservatives pass the legislation to restrict strike action with public support. These rail unions are damanging every other union members future rights through this bullish approach which winds the general public up.

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