Rail freight

07.09.17

RMT threatens strike action against another TOC over pay

Yet another TOC could become the latest victim of widespread industrial action as the RMT today warned that a dispute against East Midlands Trains (EMT) was “looming”.

The union said that strikes could be on the horizon due to East Midlands allegedly “dragging its heels” on a fair payment settlement for its staff.

RMT argued that any pay offer below the RPI inflation rate of 3.6% set in July would mean a reduction in staff living standards, adding that it was “logical” for this to be the starting point in EMT staff pay negotiations.

It also said that staff wages were not keeping up with large increases in the salaries of those higher up in the company.

The highest-paid director at EMT had their remuneration grow by 41.5% to £290,000 over the last five years, while staff wages had only gone up by 15.1% in the same period.

RMT is currently either striking or preparing to strike against a number of other UK operators. In August, the union announced a third triple strike on Southern, Merseyrail and Northern services, and balloted its members about extending the dispute (which centres around the implementation of driver-only operated trains) to Greater Anglia.

“All of the financial returns prove conclusively that East Midlands Trains is a company awash with cash. In these circumstances, it is simply incredible that the company should seek to undermine and attack the pay and living standards of their own staff,” said general secretary of RMT, Mick Cash.

“RMT members have two choices. We can accept that the company, despite having made massive profits, can dish out a de facto wage cut.

“Or we stand firm and demand recognition for the fact that it is our members who generate the company profits and we can fight to secure a fair pay rise for EMT staff which offers dignity and respect. We choose to fight for pay justice.”

Cash also confirmed that the union has begun preparations to ballot its members over strike action after September 19, when talks will resume with the operator to negotiate better pay.  

“To this end RMT has begun preparations for a ballot for both strike action and action short of a strike if we are forced to go into dispute with the company after the 19th September when pay talks will resume,” the union boss stated.

“The ball is now in East Midlands Trains court and they can settle this matter in the next round of talks by coming forwards with a fresh offer that recognises the hard work of their staff and which protects and enhances their standard of living.”

An East Midlands Trains spokesperson told RTM: "Positive talks have taken place with local union reps and we have made a reasonable and fair pay offer. We will continue to listen as the planned talks progress with the RMT."

Top Image: Charlotte Ball PA Wire

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Comments

Stephen   07/09/2017 at 14:17

Yet again the RMT holds the industry to ransom as it demands above-inflation pay rises. Yet when fares go up, to help match these increasing costs, the union hypocrites angrily protest. Isn't it time industry and government (and the media) stood up to these these left-wing bullyboys, and their actions made illegal? No other public service suffers such needless politically-motivated disruption,

Tom   08/09/2017 at 09:44

Hi Stephen, Did you bother to read the article? I clearly states that RPI levels should be used as a starting point for a pay settlement. That's not an above inflation payrise.

King's Lynn   08/09/2017 at 11:13

I wonder how much Mick Cash gets paid... Anyway, all this nonsense about 'living standards'; regardless of any pay settlement, I don't think any RMT members are suddenly going to be below the poverty line. Why can't the RMT just sit down and have a reasoned discussion with their employers behind closed doors, without resorting to hyperbole and statements to the press about every little thing that they don't see as 'fair'? As a negotiation tactic, it's really wearing thin - especially with many of the travelling public who simply wish to just... you know... get from A to B. Imagine if every industry was as vocal about their perceived 'poor treatment'.

Jerry Alderson   08/09/2017 at 13:11

Actually Tom is wrong when he writes "It clearly states that RPI levels should be used as a starting point for a pay settlement. That's not an above inflation pay rise." RPI is an above inflation pay rise. RPI is no longer a legitimate measure of real inflation. It is no longer an official statistic. The figure is only provided because some organisations have contracts tied to it, such a private pension. CPI or CPIH (which includes wider housing costs compared to CPI) is the true measure of inflation. Part of the reasons is that CPI/CPIH uses a geometric mean whereas RPI uses an arithmetic mean to calculate the figures. CPI represents people's living standards. RPI represents prices, but that is not the same as living standards. So, the quote attributed to the RMT about RPI being needed to maintain living standard is wrong. The obsolete RPI measurement is typically about 1% above inflation.

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