RMT to ballot members on Northern Rail strike action
The RMT union has announced today that it will be balloting its members working on Northern Rail whether they wish to take strike action over an “unacceptable” pay offer from Arriva Rail North.
Arriva was awarded the Northern franchise in December 2015 after it committed to the introduction of over 2,000 extra services a week as well as £400m of new carriages.
The RMT’s dispute is over a pay offer from the operator that does not meet the benchmark that the union has set elsewhere in the rail industry.
Mick Cash, RMT’s general secretary, said of the decision: “The nonsense of a privatised railway has shown its colours yet again as new Arriva Rail North franchisee Deutsche Bahn – less than a year after taking over the contract – offer our members a below the rate for the job pay deal.
“Industrial relations with the firm were already at a low and the latest pay offer shows continued contempt for the workers who run the service and make the company’s profits. Our members deserve to be paid properly for the work that they do.”
The ballot will open on 10 January and will conclude on 25 January, with the members’ decision set to be announced soon afterwards.
The union has said that it will remain open to negotiation with Arriva in the hope of avoiding the need for industrial action.
A spokesman for Northern said: “Northern has offered over 5,000 employees a guaranteed, above inflation pay rise over the next three or four years. The offer is a two percent increase in year one, followed by Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 0.1% in each of the following two or three years.
“We are disappointed to have now been notified by RMT that it intends to ballot its members following the negotiations in which the pay increase was offered.”
The RMT is at the centre of high-profile industrial action already, with the union currently battling Southern Rail alongside Aslef over the use of driver-only operated (DOO) trains.
(Image c. Nick Ansell PA Wire)
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