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01.05.15

Network Rail managers told to warn striking staff of bonus losses

Network Rail managers have been told to warn staff considering strike action that if they vote ‘yes’, they will lose up to 20% of their bonus. 

The RMT and TSSA unions are both balloting on the first national rail strike in a generation. In a briefing pack given to managers, seen by RTM, it was noted that anyone managing teams in Maintenance, Operations, Customer Services including Signallers and ECROs, Controllers, and all bands 5-8 across Network Rail (NR), will “need to brief them”. 

The paper added: “Taking part in industrial action will also cost you in your pockets. Every day of industrial action will cost you a day’s pay which equates to 0.4% of your basic pay and you will lose 20% of your bonus.” 

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, accused NR senior management of using “scare tactics” in their fight to persuade staff against industrial action. 

He cited the briefing paper and warned that staff could lose bonuses worth up to £750 if they take a single day of strike action. The below table was taken from the briefing pack:

NR table

Cortes added: “We have not seen these sort of bully-boy tactics since HR boss Peter Bennett was in his prime and breaking employment laws with impunity. He has long gone and we thought NR under Mark Carne was turning over a new leaf when it came to industrial relations.” 

However, he stated that “sadly these sort of scare tactics shows they are going backwards, not forwards” when it comes to improving management-staff relations. 

From today (1 May), TSSA became the second rail union to start its strike ballot after a revised pay offer from Network Rail was rejected in April. The result of the ballot by more than 3,000 NR staff will be declared on May 15, a week after the General Election. 

Earlier this week, the RMT started sending ballot papers to members’ home addresses from 28 April with the ballot closing two weeks later on Tuesday 12 May

The revised offer, which was rejected by the unions, included a £500 non-consolidated lump sum for all staff (pro-rata for part-time staff) covered by these bargaining groups as the pay deal for 2015; a consolidated inflation (RPI) percentage increase for 2016, 2017, 2018, with a guarantee of no salary reduction if RPI falls below 0%; no compulsory redundancies in 2015 or 2016; and Network Rail committing to equality proofing pay arrangements. 

A Network Rail spokesperson told RTM: “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. A very fair deal is on the table that guarantees job security and pay levels for the next four years.” 

More workforce and recruitment stories in the April/May 2015 edition of RTM, which you can read for FREE using the new App, available on iOS and Android. Search ‘RTM Magazine’ in the App Store / Google Play.

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