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Huge bonuses for Network Rail staff as 12,000 rail maintenance workers vote to strike

Network Rail will pay £55M in bonuses to staff, chief executive Iain Coucher receiving £305,581, as 12,000 maintenance staff vote to strike over a dispute with the track operator.

Two further executives will receive £200,000 bonuses. The three will also receive more than £150,000 each under a separate bonus scheme, which will also pay Mr Coucher's predecessor, John Armitt £178,000.

Network Rail say that bonuses are paid dependent on how efficient the trains are running, and the latest figures show punctuality at record levels.

All Network Rail staff will receive at least £871. Network Rail chairman Ian McAllister said: "Overall, the last year has been a good one for Network Rail and the industry as a whole, with passengers seeing a better service.

"Train performance is at an all time high, a £4bn investment programme has been delivered, delays caused by the infrastructure have been cut and costs have also been reduced.

"No form of transport is safer than rail and record levels of investment are being pumped into the network, with a doubling of spending on schemes designed to build a bigger, better railway to help meet the growing demands of passengers and freight users.

"In addition, lessons have been learnt following the engineering overruns at New Year. Changes have been made to make the planning and execution of such big improvement schemes more robust.

Meanwhile, maintenance workers belonging to the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have voted by a margin of close to three-to-one for two days of strikes from Saturday 14 June.

RMT members will now not book on for shifts that commence between midday on Saturday June 14 and 17:59 on Sunday June 15.

Members will also not undertake any overtime or 'on-call' work between 06:00 on Saturday June 14 and 06:00 on Monday June 16.

The action comes following the collapse of talks with Network Rail over a standard set of working conditions for maintenance staff.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "The company has been using the talks to try to drive down our members' conditions, but our reps were shocked when the true extent of the company's agenda was revealed to them last week.

"We already knew that the company's idea of harmonisation was a wholesale attack on conditions, but on top of total flexibility, multi-skilling, dangerous cuts in team sizes and an end to any idea of work-life balance, they are now talking about a jobs cull as well.

"Our members' hard work and the £400M in efficiencies they have already made have allowed NR to report pre-tax profits of more than £3bn over the last two years.

"And it is on the back of our members' hard work that the top bosses can expect bonuses worth between 50% and 100% of their salaries, yet they are telling us they can't afford real harmonisation.

"Instead we're being told that the 21% in new savings they have been told to make must paid for by our members with their conditions and even their jobs, and that is unacceptable.

"Network Rail should be ashamed that it tried to head off a strike vote by conning our members that they could stay as they were when the company never had the slightest intention of allowing that to happen.

"We are seeking nothing new out of the harmonisation process, only that people doing the same job get the same pay, terms and conditions." Bob Crow said.

The dispute follows the collapse of months' of talks between the RMT and Network Rail, to standardise terms and conditions for maintenance staff, many of whom transferred into Network Rail from the private sector.

The RMT have already rejected Network Rail proposals.

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