Britain is on the brink of major travel chaos as up to 16,000 Network Rail workers are getting ready to go on strike.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said in a statement today that negotiations over an earlier rejected pay deal had failed to make “significant movement” and now they are gearing up to go on strike unless Network Rail gives them more money and guaranteed work (unless they quit).
Network Rail, which covers around 20,000 miles of worth train tracks across Britain, offered them:
- A £500 non-consolidated lump sum payment to each worker this year.
- Wage increases determined by the RPI level of inflation for 2016, 2017, 2018.
- A commitment to “No Compulsory Redundancy” until 31st December 2016.
However, RMT said it is not enough.
In its statement, it said out of the 53% of its member that turned up to vote, around 93% rejected the proposed pay deal.
This is the full statement from RMT General Secretary Mick Cash (emphasis ours):
“Our members have already decisively rejected the initial pay package offered by Network Rail. Despite intensive talks we have not been able to secure enough significant movement and that puts us into dispute and triggers the start of a national industrial action ballot.
“As far as we are concerned the one off, non-consolidated, lump-sum payment this year is wholly inadequate and fails to recognise the massive pressures staff are working under to keep services running at a time when the company is generating profits of £1 billion. It is our members battling to keep Britain moving around the clock and they deserve a fair share from Network Rail for their incredible efforts.
“In addition, we are extremely concerned that the “No Compulsory Redundancy” commitment only applies to the first two years of the four year deal.
“RMT is in no doubt that this leaves Operations and Maintenance members extremely vulnerable, especially with the continued development of Rail Operating Centres and the on-going cuts programme at Network Rail.
“Our rail staff deserve a fair reward for the high-pressure, safety-critical work that they undertake day and night and the last thing that we need is a demoralised, burnt-out workforce living in fear for their futures and the message has come back loud and clear that that is exactly how they feel about the current offer from Network Rail.
“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.”
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