Ballot comes after union members overwhelmingly rejected pay offer

Tim Lezard Europe, UK,

Network RailRMT is to ballot its members working for Network Rail for strike action over pay.

Notice will be served on Network Rail today with the ballot papers going out next Tuesday for return by the 12th May. Any action would require a further seven days notice.

The union has rejected the latest pay proposals as falling well short of what is required to maintain the living standards, the job security and the working conditions for nearly 16,000 staff across NR operations and maintenance.

The move to a ballot comes after an earlier offer was rejected by a massive 93% on a 56% turn out in a referendum vote. Since then, intensive talks through ACAS have failed to produce enough movement from Network Rail leaving the union with no alternative but to move to a national industrial action vote.

The current pay package proposals which RMT has put into dispute are summarised as follows:

*   2015 – A £500 non-consolidated lump sum payment.

*   2016, 2017, 2018 – An RPI level of inflation increase in pay would be applied for each year.

*   The “No Compulsory Redundancy” commitment would be extended until 31st December 2016.

Up to 16,000 RMT members will be balloted in all areas of Network Rail in the industrial action vote.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “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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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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