Network Rail makes new offer to break deadlock over wages and conditions


Network Rail has made a new offer to workers aimed at breaking the deadlock over wages, jobs and conditions.

But the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union said the offer amounted to a pay cut in real terms over the next two years and would cut frontline maintenance roles by a third and half scheduled maintenance work.

Talks have been held between the company and the unions since the RMT staged three 24-hour strikes last month that brought services to a standstill.

The RMT picket line outside Nottingham station (Nadia Whittome)

(PA Media)

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said in a message to members on Tuesday that the new offer hinged on productivity and modernization clauses.

He said: “This equates to a pay cut in real terms for members over the next two years and would cut a third of all frontline maintenance roles and half of all scheduled maintenance work.

“There is also a wide-scale expectation of unsocial hours and lower wages across the board.

“Network Rail offered high-level executives a huge pay rise in exchange for very modest flexibility compared to what you and your colleagues were offered.

“All companies involved in this dispute need to understand that key railway workers have lost thousands of pounds of income due to a pay freeze in recent years – and you rightly refuse to be harmed again.

“The deals with London Underground and recently Merseyrail are also far superior to what has been offered to you here.

“We will not hesitate to call new strikes and coordinate them with other unions if the industry continues to pass unacceptable offers on us.”

Talks between the RMT and the rail operators were taking place on Tuesday evening.

The RMT executive committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss its next decision.

Network Rail said it was communicating details of the new offer directly to its employees this evening.

He said it was a two-year deal worth over 5% for all RMT members and over for those paid less than £30,000.

A 4% base salary increase would be paid in year one, retroactive to January, with 2.2% in year two and an additional 2% if modernization reform milestones are met.

There would also be 75% off travel for employees and family from January 2023, and around £650 in ‘bonus’ cash for all.

There would be an additional lump sum of £250 for those paid less than £24,000.

Network Rail also offers a mandatory no-layoff guarantee for the two years.

A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘Today we put on the table a new pay offer for our fellow RMTs which will be worth over 5%, provided savings are made through modernization reforms.

“There is also money on the table for a fair and affordable deal for next year as well. While money is extremely tight due to the railroad’s financial problems as a result of the pandemic, we can afford to make this offer if our people accept change and compromise, which will fund it.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association said it had received improved pay offers from Network Rail after a day of talks with the company, describing them as still falling “well below” its members’ expectations.

The union said the offers “prepared in real terms for pay cuts”.

After years of wage freezes, these latest proposals will only result in real pay cuts for everyone across Network Rail

Manuel Cortes, TSSA

A pay offer of 3% has been made for management grades and 4% for general grades, with the potential for more if “productivity” targets are met, the TSSA said.

General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “These latest offers do not meet the expectations of our Network Rail members.

“After years of wage freezes, these latest proposals will only result in real terms in pay cuts for everyone on Network Rail.

“However, we note that after a decade of pledges by NR bosses not to compulsorily lay off, this is back on the table.

“Frankly, they only threatened mandatory layoffs to try to convince our members to accept a weak wage agreement.

“The truth is out now, there is no need for mandatory layoffs and the challenge for NR big cats now is to offer a pay raise that decreases the number of our members who have to go to a food bank or who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Our representatives will now consider these offers which come with more than 50 conditions. The company expects our union to consider the dispute over. This is not the case.

“The top brass at Network Rail need to wake up. From their managers to support and frontline staff, Network Rail’s railway staff have had enough.


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