The RMT trade union this week rejected an offer from Network Rail of a 5.2% pay rise for the company’s operations and customer services staff next year.
The union said that the two year offer, which also included a rise equal to the retail prices index measure of inflation in 2012, would not protect the standard of living of its members. However, further talks will be held in January.
“With VAT going up to 20% in January, power and other utilities bills going through the roof and expectations that inflation will continue to rise we are looking to make sure that we achieve a pay deal for Network Rail operational and customer services staff that protects and improves their standards of living in this time of economic and political instability,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.
“We hear daily about groups of workers who are being told to accept job cuts and the undermining of their pay and conditions and as far as RMT is concerned that is the point at which a strong trade union steps up to the plate to fight for its members’ interests.
“The turmoil on the railways in recent weeks has illustrated yet again the importance of having adequate numbers of well-trained and properly rewarded staff to cope with whatever is thrown at us. We will head back into talks with Network Rail early in the New Year with every intention of securing a pay deal for our members that fully recognises the vital contribution that they make to safe and secure rail travel in this country day in and day out.”
A Network Rail spokesman said the a two year offer was made to provide continuity through to the 2012 Olympics: “We have made a fair initial offer to the RMT. It is paramount that we secure a two-year deal with no threat of disruption to the railway when London hosts the Olympics in 2012.
“The eyes of the world will be on London and it is in the vital national interest that the railway runs smoothly. We are scheduling a further meeting in January and we hope these talks will be constructive and fruitful.”