Network Rail is facing industrial action over its final pay offer to staff in operations, maintenance and customer services.
Rail union RMT confirmed today that it would begin sending referendum ballot papers to 17,000 members from 9 March over the offer, which it has ‘strongly recommended’ members reject. The vote will close on 24 March.
RMT states if members refuse the deal it will automatically ‘be placed in dispute with Network Rail’ and ballot for industrial action.
The union has summarised the offer as:
• 2015 - 0% increase in pay.
• 2016, 2017, 2018 - An RPI level of inflation increase in pay applied for each year.
• The “No Compulsory Redundancy” commitment would be extended until 31st December 2015.
• Network Rail will provide an annual National Rail Card giving a 33% reduction in off peak travel for employees, their friends and family.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘As far as we are concerned 0% in 2015 is a pay cut as it means that our members pay will not keep up with the cost of living.
‘The travel offer we have received is nothing more than a card that can be purchased by any member of the travelling public, falling well short of our demand of free travel for all. In addition, we are extremely concerned that the “No Compulsory Redundancy” commitment only applies to the first year of the four-year deal.’
RMT said it remained open to talks.
A spokeswoman for Network Rail responded: ‘Network Rail is funded in five-year chunks running to 2019. We have offered the RMT a four-year wage deal for our employees that reflects this. It is a good and fair offer linked to inflation, gives our people certainty and keeps their pay highly competitive.’